Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state Monday apologised to workers, both serving and retired on behalf of his government as well as previous administrations in the state for the inability of government to find a lasting solution to the pension problem in the past years.
Ortom tendered the apology when he flagged off the contributory pension scheme at the Government House, Makurdi.
He said one of the most unpleasant realities his administration met at the inception of his duty as governor of Benue state was the huge pension liabilities inherited from previous administrations in the state.
The governor noted that the pension problem was competing for attention with the humanitarian crisis arising from the perennial herder’s attacks as well as other challenges of development and governance.
He said it was sad that the challenges pilled with the huge shortfalls from the state’s revenue sources, both federal and the state.
He said as the state was grappling with the difficult choice of, which challenges to prioritise, the occasional demonstration on the streets by the elderly retired workers in pursuit of their retirement benefits served as a constant reminder that although there were serious other challenges of governance and development to face, the pension problem of the state was one issue to which his administration must find solution.
“Indeed, our initial efforts to address the pension problem through structured payments proved hopelessly inadequate.
“The more we released funds for the settlement of the pension liabilities, the more the liabilities grew.
“We have finally come to the conclusion that the Contributory Pension Scheme is the best solution to the state’s pension problem,” he said.
The governor further said that one of the measures his administration is taking to raise funds to pay for some of the Contributory Pension Scheme and to also pay the entitlements of workers exempted from the scheme, when they retire or to repay debts taken to defray pension liabilities is to create a special fund to be invested in interest yielding instruments.