How Imo govt spent N500m on pension verification exercise-Ihedioha
By Buchi Iwuji, Owerri
Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo state has explained how a whopping sum of N500M was spent on pensions verification exercise aimed at clearing all loopholes related to pension matters as well as all discrepancies that arose following varied figures submitted to him by different government organs involved in pension matters.
Speaking during a one-day stakeholders forum in Owerri last weekend, the governor said it was the need to get the pensions issues right that necessitated the verification, adding that about 250 unemployed youths were engaged during the five-day exercise across the 27 local government areas, which he noted gave rise to the huge sum incurred.
To ensure that the verification exercise was never a hoax, Ihedioha during the occasion directed the state accountant general, the head of service (HOS) and the commissioner for finance to complete all necessary formalities for the commencement of the payment of pensions in the state.
He explained the need to reconcile the different accounts in the system so as to put the facts right before they will commence payment, adding that he has no intention of adding to their woes.
Governor Ihedioha who gave a detailed account of the state’s finances since he assumed office, as well as the gains made since the introduction of Treasury Single Account (TSA), urged the elder statesmen to exercise patience with his administration to enable him usher in a new sustainable lease of life to them.
He lamented the huge debt profile incurred by the immediate past government, which the state was currently servicing, and reiterated his determination to run a transparent and accountable government for the progress and good governance of the state.
The governor hinted that steps about pension payment is for future benefit of the state particularly having to domesticate and domicile procured equipment at the various local government areas and also engaging our unemployed graduates with the necessary skills into the system.
Earlier, Chairman of Imo Pension Committee, Dr P.J.U. Madu expressed satisfaction in the way and manner the committee and government has progressed so far and allayed any fear of double standards from either parties and urged the government will live up to their expectations.
At their separate remarks, chairman of the imo state branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Austin Chilakpu as well as other stakeholders, commended the governor for his transparency in the discharge of his duties, adding that they are certain that the governor will at no distant time, commence the payment after the verification.
The stakeholders blamed the past administration in the state for the avoidable anomalies in the state and urged the governor not to relent in his efforts to rebuild the state, assuring their readiness to assist in any way they can towards rebuilding the state.