June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Abia gov apologises to pensioners, gives new deadline to clear arrears

GOVERNOR Alex Otti of Abia State has apologised over his inability to keep an earlier promise to clear accumulated pension arrears in the state by end of 2023.
Beginning from his campaign period, the governor repeatedly promised to clear the pension arrears by the end of 2023.
But, in his New Year day broadcast, he tenders an apology for his failure to keep the promise, explaining that the funds needed to clear the arrears were beyond what he had projected.
“Based on the figures available to us, we had arranged the funds to make good this promise. However, before making the payment, we decided to conduct a digital verification of the pensioners. To our utter shock, we found that there were pensioners who had been owed since.
“At the end of the exercise, just about a week ago, the total figure required for the payment was twice the amount we had provided,” he says.
Otti, however, assures that he would fulfil the promise before the end of the first quarter of 2024 even if it would require him to go to the Abia State house of assembly to seek approvals.
Review of workers’ salaries
Gov. Otti also hints that, in line with his earlier promise, he would undertake an upward review of workers’ salaries in the state
“In the New Year as we had promised, we shall review the salaries of all the employees of the state government upwards to reflect the economic realities of the time. Work on this is in the final stages.”
‘Watershed moment’
The governor describes 2023 as a watershed moment in the state’s political history and expresses confidence that the New Year “will be our year of consolidation on the gains made in the past seven months.”
“Technology has been at the heart of our transformation and reform agenda. We shall move to a new gear in 2024 starting with the digitization of the operations of our public institutions for ease of access and efficiency in service delivery.
“We shall also leverage the advantages of technology to drive state-wide human capital development, economic empowerment of the youth and most importantly, job creation in high-reward areas, especially outside our geographical borders,” he says.
“Before the end of this month, we shall be setting up an international body of advisers [to be] known as Abia Global Economic Advisory Board [and] made up of accomplished internationally recognised experts from across the globe who will help in our journey to take our state to the world as a preferred investment destination.”