Ebonyi releases N1.5b for pension, gratuity arrears

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The Ebonyi Government on Thursday released N1.5 billion to settle arrears of workers’ pension and gratuities accruing from Oct.2, 2016 to June 6, 2017.

Gov. Dave Umahi

Sen. Emmanuel Onwe, the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, disclosed this in a statement in Abakaliki.

According to him, the decision was sequel to a report submitted by the committee on verification of workers’ pensions and gratuities to the state executive council.

“The council has authorised the release of N750 million for the payment of pension and gratuity arrears of retired state civil servants.

“The council also authorised the release of N750 million for the payment of the pension arrears and gratuities of local government workers,” he said.

The commissioner said that Gov. David Umahi had directed all eligible beneficiaries to proceed to the Deputy Governor’s Office for verification and to ensure that the payments were disbursed with dispatch.

“The council also deliberated on the deepening economic recession in the country and resolved to expand the state government’s empowerment programme.

“This is to meet the growing economic challenges faced by the ordinary citizens, particularly the most vulnerable in the society,” he said.

Onwe said that government would release funds for the ongoing economic empowerment for over 2,000 widows across the state on Monday, Aug. 21.

“The widows would be given N200, 000 following the concluded report of the verification exercise conducted by the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious and Welfare Matters which has been presented to Council.

“The widows’ empowerment programme has also been expanded to accommodate additional 2,000 widows who will be selected, verified and paid the sum of N200, 000 each by October, 2017,” he said.

Onwe said that the N1billion budgeted for empowerment of 4,000 eligible persons of the state was still being disbursed by the Ministry of Empowerment and Job Creation.

He said that over 1,000 persons had already applied and collected grants of N250, 000 each.

“Beneficiaries who meet the criteria should expect to be paid with effect from Monday, Aug.21 as the relevant ministry will announce and publish the names of recipients of the grants at the conclusion of the disbursements.

“The state government in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI) has inaugurated a Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Fund of N4 billion operated by the bank for companies and cooperative societies.

“The beneficiaries with business plans, would access loan facilities ranging from N1million to N100 million to either commence or expand small scale or medium scale enterprises.

“Interested citizens of the state with creative and entrepreneurial drive are encouraged to approach the BOI to obtain loan facilities at a staggeringly low interest rate of just 6%”.

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