The Delta State Executive Council on Tuesday approved the Harmonized Rights of Pensioners who retired from the state civil service from March 2011 to December, 2019.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, who made this known while briefing newsmen in Asaba at the end of the Exco meeting, said the harmonization would cost the state government N37bn.
The state NLC Chairman, Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku and his TUC counterpart, Comrade Martins Bolum, who attended the Exco meeting, commended Governor Okowa for the approval, stressing that he had earned himself a place in Delta Workers Hall of Fame.
Continuing, Ofobruku said ” to address the issue of accrued rights of pensioners, Governor Okowa set up a committee and the committee commenced work as far back as October, 2015.
“At a point, we lost hope and thought the issue will not be dealt with during this administration, but today, the State Executive Council has approved the harmonization of accrued rights of pensioners In this state.
“In other words, it means that the Delta State Government will use the N18,000 minimum wage to calculate the pension entitlement of retirees in the state.
“This means that those who retired as far back as 2011, instead of the N7,500 minimum wage that was used to calculate their entitlement, government has approved that the N18,000 minimum wage be used.
“This approval has been Labour’s cry; that has been our struggle and that is what the state Executive Council just approved today.
“It might interest you to note that the Contributory Pension Law in the state says that when an officer retires, he should go home with at least 50 per cent of his last salary, but, when the N7,500 minimum wage was being used, officers were going home with 15 to 30 per cent of their last salary.
“So, government has approved that we implement what is in the law and it will cost the state government a whopping N37 billion from March, 2011 to December, 2019.
“In addition since the contributory pension started in the state in 2007, N32 billion has been contributed to the scheme so far by the state government,” he disclosed.
Ofobruku added that “it is interesting to know that Senator Okowa’s administration has contributed N22 billion out of the N32 billion within the last four years.
“The government under Okowa has answered our prayers as labour and the implementation that is to take effect immediately will meet the provisions of the law.
“In other words, it means that workers can retire and live a good life and not die of sickness, poverty and hunger any longer.
“We cannot thank the government of Senator Okowa enough; we only pray that God continues to give him and his team wisdom, strength to continue to lead us.
“In view of what the governor has done for workers in the state, the workers have decided to induct him into workers hall of fame on the 1st of May, 2020 which happens to be Workers Day.
“His administration is paying about N1.2 billion to N1.3 billion every month as pensions and as workers, we are thankful for all he has been doing to improve the civil service, workers welfare and wellbeing.
“We pray that God keeps him and rewards him with good health and long life to lead the state to greater heights and pray for his team as well,” he said.