Bayelsa State Government says it has saved the sum of N1.25 billion for the payment of gratuity to pensioners with the payment to commence on Thursday, this week.
Dropping the hint at a parley with Chairmen and Secretaries of various Trade Unions in the State at Government House Yenagoa on Tuesday, Governor Seriake Dickson said the amount was realized from the monthly savings for the purpose.
According to him, ‘government has made available N1.25 billion being amount realized so far from the monthly savings for the purpose.
“In line with the promise we made a couple of weeks ago, our government will by tomorrow or Thursday, hand over a cheque of N500 million to the Head of Service and his team to commence the payment of retirees’ pensions, allowances and gratuities”.
He noted that though the backlog of pensions predated his administration, Government decided to tackle the problem in line with its Restoration agenda.
The meeting, according to the Governor was convened to discuss some critical issues relating to Government’s plan of beefing up the Internally Generated Revenue, payment of appropriate tax as well as incentives for workers in the state.
“We have taken some decisions but out of my usual respect for the labour leaders, I thought we should have a closer meeting where we can fine tune some of these policies” he disclosed.
On the welfare package for civil servants, Governor Dickson said government would build low cost Housing Estates, provide Health insurance scheme and on the job training to enhance productivity.
According to him, “there are several incentives that government is going to unfold shortly. We are going to start the construction of a low-cost Housing Estate for civil servants and Health Insurance scheme that we are reforming”.
He expressed government’s appreciation to civil servants and their respective unions for their support in the ongoing staff verification exercise, which he said was yielding positive results.
His words, “I know the support that your leadership has been giving our staff verification team. Your chairpersons and others on that board are doing very well, and working together. We have been able to address the problem of ghost workers and fake names.
Responding on behalf of Labour, the State Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mrs. Ebiwou Koku Obiyai expressed optimism that Government would facilitate the process of implementing all that are accruable to workers in the State.
According to her, civil servants will strive not to fall short of Government’s expectations and will work with Government to actualize its Restoration agenda.