Critics Of My Pension Policy, Unfair – Oshiomhole | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Critics Of My Pension Policy, Unfair – Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole
Posted: Aug 12, 2016 at 6:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Innocent Oweh


Abuja – Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State on Thursday said critics of his pension policy in the state were not being fair to him.

Oshiomohle’s remarks were in relation to allegations from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), against backdrop of forthcoming gubernatorial elections in the state.

The PDP had said the governor was leaving behind a backlog of pension arrears for the incoming administration but Oshiomohle has called the criticisms baseless and false.

He stated that, if at the end of his tenure as governor he was leaving four years’ pension arrears out of the 13 years his administration inherited, he deserved nothing but commendation.

Oshiomhole spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after a meeting with Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President.

Speaking extensively, he said, “The problem PDP has in Edo State is very clear to everyone. First, they had the privilege of presiding over the state for 10 years, from 1999 to 2008. During this period, their records with regard to workers were clear.

“First, on assumption of office in 1999, the PDP government sacked all permanent secretaries because they needed their agencies as permanent secretaries. They had to sack the ones they met and appoint fresh ones.

“The following year, 2000, they sacked over 7,000 civil servants and none of them was paid gratuity or pension. From 1998 when the Army left, to 1999 and to the end of 2008 when I took over, that was a period of 13 years.

“When I assumed duties at the end of 2008, I had two options: There was this temptation to say that I would be paying (only) those who retired during my tenure, but as a former (labour) leader, I asked myself, if an employer was so callous to carry out massive retrenchment of workers as the PDP did by sacking 7,000 and permanent secretaries and did not pay them gratuity, is it the fault of those workers?

“We have paid all those who were pensioned in 1998 and 1999, all those they dismissed in 2000 and those who retired from 2001 to 2011.

“So I have paid pension arrears of 13 years even though I have been in government for only seven years plus. If I had limited myself to pension bills arising from those who retired during my tenure, I would have paid more than double.

“For every year that I have been in office, I have to budget for pension for two years. I have systematically brought it back from 13 years arrears to about four years, 2012 to 2015. So I believe we have done well.

“We are not in arrears of one month pension to those who are already in the scheme. I am proud to say that, talking about leaving arrears, I met 13 years arrears and I have reduced it to four years. Before the end of my tenure, we will still pay more and that number of years will still be further reduced.

“So when you look at these facts, PDP can’t talk.”