Reprieve is coming the way of retirees in Nasarawa State, as the state government is setting aside funds meant for the payment of long awaited gratuity to retired civil servants in the state.
Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule disclosed this while being presented with the report of the committee on the implementation of promotions and salary arrears in the state public service, at a ceremony at the Government House, on Wednesday.
Engineer Sule while also disclosing that for the first time, Nasarawa State has benefited from the World Bank special package for States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS), giving to states that are transparent, accountable and follow the due process, said a percentage of the grant will be set aside to pay gratuity of retirees.
The Governor said he earlier made a commitment to the effect that if the money is made available, his administration will set aside a special amount for the payment of gratuity of retirees workers who participated and helped towards developing the state.
“Certain amount of the money from the World Bank, will go for gratuity and I will keep to that commitment. I will make sure that a certain percentage of this money goes straight to pay gratuity,” he stated.
Speaking on the recommendations of the committee, Engineer Sule expressed willingness to offset the outstanding August 2016 salary arrears, to deserving civil servants in the state, out of fairness, justice and accountability.
According to the Governor, in order to be fair and just, there is need to pay outstanding August 2016 salary arrears to civil servants that were not paid as at when due, stressing however that the approval for the payment, will remain pending until another committee put in place to look into the issue of the new national minimum wage submits its report.
“I told you we are going to get a present from the World Bank. I’m happy to announce to you that just yesterday, we received the first tranche,” the Governor said.
He added that even though his administration accepted to whatever that was agreed by the committee on implementation of promotions and salary arrears, there is however need to await the resolution of the committee on the new national minimum wage before final approval is given.
While expressing concern that only the issue of the new national minimum wage remain unresolved, out of the commitments he made to the people of the state while being inaugurated into office, Engineer Sule appealed to members of the Committee on the New National Minimum Wage, chaired by the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, to expedite action and conclude its assignment.
The Governor used the opportunity of the event, to clear the air on the circumstances surrounding local government areas in the state.
He said at a time when it’s no longer expedient for local government areas In the state to merely await monthly subvention from the Federal Government, his administration was surprised that some officials within the local government system were not happy that the state government is trying to save N600m for the councils.
Engineer Sule explained that what the committee set up by the state government to scrutinize financial activities at the local government level, did was to uncover that in spite of an embargo against employment placed in 2012, with the biodata of every civil servant documented, still the payroll of the councils rose from N1.1bn to N1.3bn, even with resignations, retirements and deaths.
“At the end of the day, it came out that some of the officials were not even interested in the exercise, which will translate to those officials were more or less, benefiting from the system,” he stated.
He further urged chairmen of local government areas in the state, to continue to think outside the box and not to solely depend on FAC or JAC, especially that Nasarawa State is blessed with great potentials.
Engineer Sule commended members of the committee on the implementation of promotions and salary arrears, for the wonderful job they undertook.
Earlier, Chairman of the committee, Chief Philip Dada, said the committee was not able to submit its report within the stated period because of systemic challenges encountered during the course of its assignment, especially the absence of readily available data for use.
According to Chief Dada, the committee discovered the existence of one month salary arrears for the month of August 2016, while also indicating the financial implications of the outstanding salary arrears.
Gov Bello Presents 2021 Budget Proposal To The State Assembly
Governor Yahaya Bello has presented a budget proposal of N130.5 billion as against N122.9 billion of the Amended Budget for year 2020 as the 2021 budget to the Kogi State House of Assembly.
The presentation was made on Tuesday in Lokoja. The 2021 appropriation bill christened “Budget of Accelerated Recovery” represents an increase of N7,575,110,017 or 6.16% when compared with the 2020 final budget.
During the budget presentation, the Governor stated that the fiscal strategy of Government was anchored on the on-going Public Financial Management Reform (PFM).
He explained that the 2021 proposed budget was carefully crafted to urgently address the pressing issues of internal security, food security and economic empowerment in the state.
He added that his administration seek to eliminate waste of government funds and resources which might have eluded them in time past while blocking any remaining leakages in its IGR portfolio.
Governor Bello stated his administration will aggressively pursue repayment of debt owned the state by the federal government, reduced cost of governance and provide more justification for the state’s development partners across the world to contribute to the state’s economy.
Governor Bello commended the House for approving the revised 2020 – 2022 medium Term Expenditure Frameworks, Fiscal strategy paper and the passage of the revised 2020 appropriation bill into law in record time to ameliorate distractions from the Covid-19 pandemic to the state’s fiscal positions.
He said the 2021 budget will prioritize payment of workers’ salaries, completion of on-going projects and introduction of important infrastructures.
Governor Bello noted that the 2021 budget objectives includes quality and affordable education, improve quality access to healthcare, food security, exploring full commercial potential of the state, gainful employment for youths, improved road networks.
He urged the House to ensure speedy passage of the budget so as to facilitate prompt implementation by the executive arm
In his welcome remark, the Speaker Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mathew Kolawole lauded Governor Bello’s resolve to take a stand against lockdown at the peak of Covid-19 pandemic, noting that such decision helped stabilized the state’s economy.
He noted that as co-managers of the economy they would continue to perform their duty and facilitate accountability and probity in the implementation of the budget.
He called on ministries, departments and agencies of government to promptly appear before the respective committees when called upon for defense.
Nasarawa Assembly, Pension Bureau Collaborate To Enhance Pensioners Welfare.
Further continue synergy among legislative and executive, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly has assured the state Pension Bureau of its continued support with sole aimed of improving welfare of the state pensioners.
Hon Mohammed Okpoku, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation stated this on Wednesday when the management of the State Pension Bureau appeared before the committee to defend its 2021 budget proposal.
Okpoku said that effective collaboration between the House and the pension bureau would not only improve on the standard of living of the pensioners but would also improve on the standard of living of their family members.
The deputy chairman said that the House would continue to accord topmost priority to the welfare of the pensioners considering the active services they have rendered to the state.
” We have invited you on the need for you to defend what you have proposed for the 2021 fiscal year.
” I want to commend you for being up and doing in improving on the standard of living of the pensioners.
” I want to assure you that the committee will continue to support your activities in order to ensure pensioners improved welfare,” he said.
Okpoku urged the management of the pension bureau to continue to be transparent in its activities for the overall development of the state.
Earlier, Alhaji Abdullahi Sani Oseze, the Director General of the Bureau while defending the 2021 budget proposal said that they will continue to give adequate attention to the welfare of the pensioners .
” Our bureau is service oriented aimed at ensuring payment of gratuity and pension to the pensioners.
” I want to assure this House and the state that we will continue to do our best in ensuring that pensioners welfare are improved, ” he said.
The director general commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule for giving adequate attention to the welfare of the pensioners in the state.
Service Chiefs Will Remain As Long As Buhari Is Satisfied With Them – Garba Shehu
Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, says the nation’s service chiefs will remain in office as far as President Muhammadu Buhari is satisfied with their performance.
Shehu, who featured during an Arise TV programme on Monday night, said the calls for the sack of the service chiefs are “out of place”.
Parts of the country have seen a rise in attacks in recent months, communities in the north-west and north-central regions have been victims of bandits attacks while kidnappers are on rampage across some states.
Over the weekend, Boko Haram insurgents struck in Borno state, killing more than 40 farmers in a community about 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.
As the growing security challenges renewed calls for the sack of the service chiefs, Buhari said he has given them a marching order “to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis”.
During the TV programme monitored by TheCable, Shehu faulted claims the tenure of the service chiefs have expired, saying the law does not prescribe such term limit.
“I am not aware that the tenure of service chiefs is subject to any law or regulation that is clearly stated. They serve at the pleasure of the president,” he said.
“If the president is satisfied with their performance, he keeps them. And the buck stops on his table with all due respect to the feelings of Nigerians.
“The clamour for the sack is out of place considering that the president is not subject to the opinion of the opposition political party which has clamoured for this all the time.”
Shehu said contrary to the view of the opposition that “they have a role” in the tenure of service chiefs, it is “entirely up to him (the president) to decide”.
“He decides who he keeps as a service chief and for how long,” he added.
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