By Jimin Geoffrey
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has disclosed that the state government expends N700 million monthly on payment of pensions for the past six months.
Governor Ortom told journalists, Saturday, 9th October, 2021 in Makurdi while fielding questions from reporters on his return from Abuja that N400m and N300m is paid monthly to the State and Local Government pensioners respectively.
He explained that though the release of the funds affects payment of overheads and other logistics in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of government, it has to be sustained in order to address the plight of the senior citizens who served the state meritoriously and retired.
Governor Ortom stated that the release of N700 million monthly is a result of an agreement between government and Pension union leaders in the state, pointing out that the cause of the recent protests by pensioners despite the subsisting agreement is unfortunate and would be investigated.
While reiterating the fact that his administration inherited over N70b arrears of pensions and gratuities of retirees in the state, Governor Ortom said relentless efforts had reduced the amount to less than N35b so far.
The Governor said already, over N1.5b had been saved in the PENCOM account by the Benue State government, stressing that when the amount reaches N3b threshold, funds would be accessed from PENCOM to clear arrears of Pensions and gratuities of retirees.
According to him, the domestication of the PENCOM law by his administration was the best approach to ensure a lasting solution to payment of pensions and gratuities of retirees in the state.
On the preparations of the PDP ahead of its national convention slated to hold at the end of this month, the Governor said the National Zoning Committee of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP had agreed that party positions that were in the South be swapped to the North and vice versa.
He stated that sharing of the party positions is being done, adding that the intention of stakeholders of the PDP is to ensure consensus candidates emerge for all the positions across the country.