PAYMENT OF GRATUITIES: Gov Lawal Rekindles Hope Of Helpless Retirees

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By Nuhu Salihu Anka

A dream of every retired civil servant is to get his gratuity paid to him before his death. Thousands of retired civil servants both at the states and the federal government level have died before they could get their gratuities, while thousand others are still in a waiting list and have no hope of getting this last entitlement.

Many state governments have stopped paying the gratuity, despite persistent pressure being mounted on them by the retirees and the organized labour unions.

Infact, some state governors do not consider payment of gratuity to retired civil servants as a right but rather a privilege.

This wicked attitude of non payment of gratuity has put many retired civil servants into serious difficulties and hopelessness.

Many of them have died of hypertension, while those who have survived the situation have been paralyzed and could no longer fend for their families.

In Zamfara state, payment of gratuity has been suspended for the last 10 years or more, as such, the administration of Governor Dr. Dauda Lawal inherited a backlog of gratuity which stood at N13.4 billion.

The past administrations made several false promises, more especially during the electioneering campaigns without fulfillment.

However, with the coming of Governor Dauda Lawal as the fifth democratically elected Governor, retired civil servants who have lost hope are now smiling and their dream of spending their gratuities is becoming a reality.

Although, Governor Dauda Lawal did not promise to settle the backlog of gratuity owed to retired civil servants during his campaign, he decided to pay them in order to alleviate their suffering.

Out of magnanimity, Dr. Dauda Lawal directed the ministry of finance to commence the payment of the backlog of N13.4 billion gratuities to retired civil servants in the state.

The state government had established a committee to authenticate the retired civil servants’ data to pay off the gratuity debt accumulated from 2011 to date.

After validating the data of retired civil servants, the government discovered that the total amount owed from state and local governments was 13.4 billion Naira.

The committee has already gone far with the authentication of data submitted by local government and state pension commission and physical verification of beneficiaries.

Retired state and local government employees who were verified have begun to receive their gratuity payments since Thursday.

Similarly, the government would ensure that all retirees are authenticated and paid their gratuities without any difficulties.

The retirees who have been owed gratuities since 2011 finally started receiving their payments and many of them are now jubilating and praying for the success of Dr Dauda Lawal’s administration.

The backlog of gratuities accumulated over years is now being cleared and payment has since commenced.

The State government has taken a significant step towards addressing the outstanding debt of gratuity owed to retirees, which comprises death gratuities, retirement gratuities, and contract gratuities.

With this development, one will beat his chest and say that, Governor Dauda Lawal is fulfilling his promise to serve the people of the State by rescuing and rebuilding the state for the better.

Nuhu Salisu Anka is the Director General, Media and Communications, Government House, Gusau

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