By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu
The Anambra Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) said the state government is owing its retirees over N14 billion outstanding gratuities.
Mr Chikwelu Adigwe, the state NULGE President, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Sunday.
“The state government is owing our retired staff over N14 billion outstanding gratuities and it is sad that many of these retired staff have died while struggling to get their entitlements.
“Gratuity is supposed to be paid immediately you retire from active service but they keep saying ‘no money’, even when they generate so much revenue from the local government revenue windows.
“As a union, we are making our position known to the state government. We have written urging the state government to re-constitute the Local Government Pension Board to solve these problems.
“When the board was functional, people receive their gratuity in due time.
“The law to establish this board has been passed by the state assembly and we are urging the governor to do the needful so that all these problems of gratuities and pension arrears will stop,” he said.
Adigwe expressed dissatisfaction using transition committee to run the local government system in the state, saying it was affecting the administration of the 21 local councils negatively.
Adigwe urged the state House of Assembly to use its constitutional powers to stop the renewal of the local government transition committee.
He also urged the governor-elect, Prof. Charles Soludo, to conduct local government election within the first six months of his tenure.
The NULGE President also called for scrapping of contributory pension scheme as it was not favourable to workers.
“The salary structure we are being paid cannot work with the pension scheme. If the scheme must stand, then let us have the standardised salary structure.”
Adigwe advocated that the state’s Board of Local Government Service Commission should be made up of retired or serving local government employees and not politicians who do not understand the system.
On the union’s expectations from the incoming administration, he called for improved workers’ welfare, car loans and housing scheme, as well as constant engagement of workers by the state government. (NAN) (www nannews.ng)