Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has disclosed that his administration paid the sum of N82 billion as pensions and gratuities to state and local government retirees between June 2019 and June 2022.
The governor announced this on Thursday during an interactive session with some state workers at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Abiodun revealed that no payment was made for pensions or gratuities in 2011, saying his administration had paid N41 billion as pensions and gratuities to state and local government retirees in less than four years.
He also stated that out of the N18 billion outstanding Global Deduction, his administration had paid the sum of N12 billion, pledging that the balance of N6 billion would be paid in the coming months.
The governor further attributed the inability of his government to pay the deductions and other entailments to increase in the wage bill of the state to N700 million due to the implementation of the new minimum wage, adding that his administration had in the last three and a half years explored various financial options rather than imposing additional taxes on the people.
“As you all know, our state was the first to implement the N30,000 minimum wage, and this increased our monthly wage bill by N700 million. This additional wage bill has affected our plan, which was to settle all outstanding commitments with our workforce”, he pointed out.
The governor announced that processes for the 2021 and 2022 promotion exercise would commence very soon, pleading with the workers to be patient with his administration as their welfare remained paramount.
The governor noted that his administration has been fair in distributing projects to all parts of the state, disclosing that the groundbreaking of the Sagamu-Papalanto road would be performed next week to further open up the state for more economic activities and gain the confidence of the organized private sector.
When we came in about three years and seven months now, we were clear on what to do, which was creating an enabling environment for the private sector participation in the economy of our state, which in turn will create individual prosperity.
“We set out to do this through our ISEYA agenda. We did not only focus on one area of the state economy but all areas; we have renovated schools and health facilities, built about 300 houses across the state and constructed 400km of roads across. I can assure you that with your support, we will do more”, Abiodun said.
The governor described the Ogun State workforce as the engine room that has helped his administration in recording modest achievements, including winning various awards, and calling for more partnership and collaboration to make the state better for the benefit of all.
Responding to questions from Mr Aregbesola Olarenwaju, a staff of Odogbolu Local Government Area, on the poor working condition and the need for the third tier of government to have financial autonomy, Abiodun declared that his administration had not tampered with the local government fund.
Abiodun said his administration had instead augmented the LG allocations on a monthly basis to enable them to meet their constitutional responsibilities.
On the issue of the outstanding leave bonus raised by another worker, the governor said a portion of the bonus would be paid along with the salaries from January, calling on the workers to give his administration more time to address all their outstanding issues.
Earlier in his remarks, the Head of Service, Dr Nafiu Aigoro, said the interactive session was called to enable the workers to have an interface with the governor on issues affecting the discharge of their duties and their welfare.