This serves as a public service announcement that the Government of the state of Osun, in continuation of its fulfillment of its decision to improve on the welfare of its citizens, particularly to the senior citizens, has commenced payment of the pension arrears that emanated from the administrative bottlenecks and improper cash flow planning attributable to the last administration in the state.
In order to ensure an immediate settlement of the arrears, Mr. Governor recently approved that the sum of N1billion be released immediately by the state’s Treasury to the retirees that were forced to retire by the last administration. The payment has thus commenced.
Whereas the state continues to uphold the welfare of its senior citizens as one of its topmost priorities, it needs to be stated that the issues leading to the pension arrears are actually not the makings of the current administration. The N1billion is an addition to the payment made on the 142% pension arrears.
The challenges actually commenced with the huge 142% pension arrears, the current administration inherited from the last administration in 2010. At the inception of the current administration, the state’s liability on the 142% pension arrears was about N4billion.
In demonstration of the magnanimity of the present government, up to N1.2billion of the inherited liability hitherto unattended to by the previous administrations was paid.
The impact of the mass retirement of the state’s employees in late 2012, given their unwillingness to join the contributory pension scheme in the state also contributed in no small measure to the current challenges and the origin of 2011/2012 Retiree forum. Aside from the fact that the previous administration that approved the forceful retirement of the group of the referenced retirees did not consider the cashflow implication when granting the approval of the forceful exit, it is also worth mentioning that the administrative bottlenecks in processing retirees’ entitlements contributed to the problem.
The last administration failed to automate the manual processing of retirees’ benefits to take care of the surge in their number, thereby leading to delay of processing the Authority to collect (ATC) papers of the retired personnels. This consequently led to the situation whereby some people who retired since December 2012 were unable to submit their Authority to collect until later month such as November 2013. This is the genesis of the pension arrears. Government has however kept pace to pension-roll the retirees as soon as their Authority papers are submitted.
For avoidance of doubts, over 5,000 employees of the state joined the existing over 9,000 retirees in the state, while the local government retirees schedule also increased by about 3,500. Ofcourse the fresh recruitment conducted in 2013 by the state was to fill the numerous vacancies created by the massive retirement. In the middle of all these, the retirees continue to enjoy their monthly emoluments (in form of pension), albeit slightly reduced by 15%.
The impact of the aforementioned 2011/2012 retirement was an unprecedented surge in the state’s salary and pension obligations from N250million in November 2011 to N600million monthly now, and the creation of relatively young retirees, called 2011/2012 Retirees Group.
Total pension arrears arising from the aforesaid forced retirement was recently ascertained. For the interest of the concerned and in further demonstration of the current administration’s humane spirit and resolution to ensure that the interest of all and sundry in the state is well protected, and as recently approved by Mr. Governor, the state has further earmarked the sum of N1billion towards payment of the established outstanding liability on the pension. To this end, payment of the pension arrears has commenced in earnest.
The government however wishes to appreciate the understanding and patience exercised by our senior citizens during the challenging period, and solicits their further support to the current administration and its various beneficial programs. One good turn they say deserves another.
Wale Bolorunduro PhD
Hon. Commissioner for Finance, State of Osun.