Osun: Pensioners, others in pain as state wriggles under heavy debt, workers lament

Labour union in Osun state has lamented hardship being faced by its union as occasioned by about N270billion debt of the state. 

The state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Jacob Babatunde Adekomi, in a speech titled “Osun Workers and Pensioners in Pain as Osun State Wriggles Under Heavy Debt Profile”, appealed to the Federal government to review the mode of deduction which he said stand at N2.5billion monthly. 

Adekomi who noted that the pandemic COVID-19 has compounded the problems of Osun workers, lamented fifteen months of unpaid salary and pension arrears left by the immediate past administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola which he said amounted to N60billion for both state and local government workers. 

Among other problems according to him is “non monetization of promotion of workers between 2012 and 2018 as released to workers after the promotion exercise carried out in 2018.

He said, “workers that retired on contributory pension scheme since 2016 had not been able to access their pension which they toiled for, and that totalled over N20billion for both accrual and contribution. 

“Likewise their counterparts in active service faced a future that looks bleak as their monthly pension deductions are not fully remitted to their Pension Fund Managers (PFAs); Year 2012 gratuity of Pensioners is still outstanding in year 2020 and it’s about N6billion.

“Non-payment of Four months outstanding deductions from the salaries of workers which have negatively affected their remittances to their various Cooperative Societies, Bank Loan repayment, Union dues and so on. This had invariably impacted the of the workers negatively by preventing them from meeting their domestic and personal responsibilities. 

“While other states of the Federation are already enjoying the new minimum wage, Osun State is yet to conclude on the mode of implementation. The Committee that was set up to midwife the payment of New Minimum Wage was about concluding its assignment when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

He commended the workers for their doggedness, perseverance, endurance and longsuffering in the face of unfavourable circumstances, saying “we in the leadership position are pained as you are pained and I will like to inform you all that we are doing everything humanly possible to ameliorate this ugly situation. 

Adekomi also lauded Governor Gboyega Oyetola for the prompt payment of full salaries and pensions since his inception, saying “this is a radical departure from the past. 
“The colossal debt profile of the State which is presently put conservatively at over N270billion is frightening and mind boggling and the mode of deduction is very unfriendly. 

“The Federal Government is therefore implored to have a second look at the mode of deduction which stand at over N2.5billion on a monthly basis, so that the State will not go into bankruptcy. 

“The ingenuity and financial sagacity of the State Government under the able leadership of the Comrade Governor, Gboyega Oyetola must be brought to bear to create new opportunities to alleviate the hard time currently being experienced so that at a time like this, the next season we shall be able to say ‘uhuru’.

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