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Gov. Dickson Presents N500 Million For Payment Of Pensions And Gratuity

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In fulfillment of a promise made early this week, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has presented a cheque for 500 million naira for the payment of pensions and gratuity obligations owed retired civil servants in the State.

Presenting the cheque to the State Head of Civil Service, Sir Frazer Okuoru, who is also the Chairman of the Pensions and Gratuity Verification Committee in Government House, Yenagoa, Hon Dickson urged the committee to ensure that the funds were disbursed to only genuine retirees.

The Governor, who also charged the Committee to furnish his office with monthly reports bordering on the performance of their job, noted that the release of the N500 million naira signals the first installment payment of the funds government intends to disburse in tranches to clear the arrears.

His words, “I charge the Committee chaired by our Head of Service with members who are all very senior and experienced people in this respect to painstakingly verify the names of all the supposed retirees and do it in such a way that only genuine and verified persons benefit. I say so because of the problem of ghost workers that we have, which is still so much around with us, although we are trying to address it”.

Describing the backlog of pensions and gratuities owed by the state as unfortunate, Governor Dickson pointed out that the problem predates his administration.

The State Chief Executive assured retirees and civil servants that the present administration would not play politics with their welfare, saying that government will soon provide affordable accommodation as well as an insurance policy to take away the burden of medical bills from them.

He however, warned erring civil servants to turn a new leaf, stressing that his administration will not hesitate to discipline whoever that is found wanting in the performance of his or her statutory duties.

Emphasising the need for workers to remain non-partisan and obedient to constituted authority, Hon Dickson said Government would soon publish a list of truant workers and take appropriate disciplinary actions against them in accordance with the civil service rules.

“ And let me announce that I have just directed the Staff Verification Team to compile the list of those absentee workers; Unknown to a lot of them, we have been investigating them for some time and we are getting set to release the first list of people, who have been found wanting.

“I have directed the Head of Service to act accordingly…. I don’t care to know whoever that is in that list. I’m not going to interfere and nobody should interfere. If there is any interference, then I will like to know because we want a civil service that is professional”, he said.

In his response, the Head of Service, Sir Frazer Okuoru assured the Governor that the Committee would diligently carry out its responsibilities.

Sir Okuoru appealed to pensioners to show understanding and patience to enable the committee clear the cheque and fine-tune modalities for actual payments to commence.

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