Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Monday said the state government spent N1.3 billion monthly in servicing pension obligations to its retirees.
Okowa made this known while swearing in nine Special Advisers and Chairman, Bureau of State Pensions, at Government House, Asaba.
He said the state was facing lots of challenges as a result of pressure from the contributory pension scheme.
He said that it was tough running the scheme but assured that unlike most states in the country, his administration would sustain its commitment to the scheme, because it was in the best interest of workers.
“There are backlogs of payments and it is not because we didn’t want to pay, it is because of the initial information gap that was available at the time of enrolment which has resulted in several billions of arrears called actual services.
“We are doing our best and we will continue to make our own contributions and also contribute meaningfully to reduce the level of debt and I hope that by the time we leave in 2023, we will have done our bit reasonably.
“I hope, too, that the succeeding administration will also continue to pay for the actual services. I say this because people do not understand that as a state we spend over N1.3 billion monthly in the payment of pensions.
“I am aware that some states don’t spend up to that amount in payment of their entire staff salaries but for payment of state pensions alone we are spending over N1.3 billion monthly,” Okowa said.
He charged the new Special Advisers to discharge their duties in accordance with section 196 (Sub-section 1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“As Special Advisers, being experts in your respective fields, I expect nothing but sound and practical advice that will ensure a Stronger Delta standing on the tripod of Prosperity, Peace and Progress.
“You must commit to fairness and equity in the discharge of your duties,’’ he said, and warned the appointees to guard against nepotistic considerations in the discharge of their jobs.
Those sworn in as Special Advisers are Chief (Mrs) Mary Iyasere, Dr Austin Obidi, Mr Emmanuel Ogidi, Chief Sunny Emeyese and Senior Apostle Sylvanus Okorote.
Others are Chief Ebikeme Clark, Mr .Pascal Adigwe, Chief Samuel Mariere and Chief Emuoboh Gbagi, while Mr Cyril Agbele was sworn in as Chairman, Bureau of State Pensions.