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Ondo pays N2.4b annually on gratuities

Ondo state government at the weekend said it has been religiously paying N2.4 billion annually as gratuities to its retired civil servants.

The Head of Service (HoS), Pastor Kayode Ogundele, made the disclosure while featuring on a radio programme in Akure, the state capital.

Ogundele, who said that the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led administration was up-to-date also, with the payment of pensions.

 The government recently approved the increase in the pension allowances of the retirees in the state in line with the consequential adjustment arising from the implementation of the national minimum wage in 2019 in the country.

Ogundele also said that with the clearing of the backlogs of seven months’ salaries owed by the immediate past administration, the state government has been prioritizing the welfare of workers by promptly paying their salaries.

“Mr. Governor assured the workers and labour leaders that arrears of salaries owed by the previous administration will be fully paid. By December 2022, we had already started planning for January.

“As of February, before the election, the Ondo State Government had paid February salaries. We have no outstanding debt.

“As he (Akeredolu) was clearing the seven months’ arrears he inherited, he was also paying the normal salary.

“There was no issue with a salary delay or any outstanding salary within that period, even though he was clearing the arrears. All the salaries due to this administration have been paid.

“Also, pensioners in the state have been commending Mr. Governor. Just last week, Mr. Governor approved the increase in their arrears based on the 2019 minimum wage.

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” The implication of this for the state is that every month we will be incurring an additional N100 million to pay the incremental arrears.

“Just last year, we had issues with Owena Press retirees. Most of them had not been paid their gratuities for years. Last year, Mr. Governor got the file, and he approved it straight away. Now, all the retirees have all gotten their gratuities.

“Based on the resources available to the government, we have been putting aside a certain amount to clear the backlog of gratuities in other sectors.

“As we are paying their pensions every month, we also take care of their gratuities every month. There are so many of them that have been there since 2011.

“You can imagine the number of people that have retired from 2011 to date, but since this administration came on board, it has been providing for that.

“Every month we make provisions for them. From what we do, by annual calculation, the state government is paying nothing less than N2.4 billion apart from gratuities.”

Ogundele, who lauded the governor for the innovative strategies deployed in boosting the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state, maintained that Akeredolu has vowed that the delayed payment of salaries of workers will not repeat itself under his watch.

” That is why the issue of their emoluments has been prioritized, and that is why we are having the kind of situation we have now, a very peaceful relationship between government and workers.

“When you look at the facts and figures, when you compare Ondo State and other states in the south-west, we are far ahead.

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“In 2019, we promoted over 7,000 workers with full financial benefits. 4,185 workers were promoted in 2020. In 2021, the total number of workers promoted was 3,451. In 2022, we 3,950. As a whole in 2023 weeks promoted over 8,415 workers.

Ogundele noted that “In the teaching service, just about two years ago, we recruited over 1,000 teachers to fill some gaps in the primary schools. The teaching service in the secondary schools is making efforts to ensure gaps are also filled.

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