Again, Gombe Governor Pays Over N5.4 Billion Gratuity Backlog To State, LGA Retirees

…’ Govt Has Now Reduced Inherited Gratuity Backlog from N21bn to N7bn’

…As Governor Inuwa Vows to Clear all Retired Civil Servants’ Benefits in Due Course

Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya CON, has on Thursday flagged off a new phase of payment of backlog of gratuities to over 4000 State and Local Government retirees with a promise to clear all entitlements to retired civil servants in due course.

According to a press release on Thursday, 7th March 2024 signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) Gombe Government House, Ismaila Uba Misilli, said that in this round of payment, the state government is disbursing the sum of NGN5,440,045,865.73 to both state and local government retirees.

With this development, the debt owed retirees has been reduced from inherited N21bn to N7bn.

Speaking during the ceremony which was held at the Government House, Governor Inuwa Yahaya restated his administration’s strong commitment towards improving the welfare of civil servants and retirees alike, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the development of Gombe state.

The Governor recalled that upon assumption of office in 2019, one of the key challenges his administration inherited was the backlog of over 21 billion naira in gratuity arrears owed to state and local government retirees.

He maintained that in its pursuit of justice and fairness, the State Government under his leadership has made it a priority to address the issue head-on, hence in the past five years, over 7 billion naira of backlog of gratuities have been cleared thus providing much-needed relief and dignity to retirees who dedicated their lives to the service of the state.

“In this round of payment, we are paying the sum of NGN5,440,045,865.73 to both state and local government retirees. The State Government will settle the backlog of 2018 retirees. In the case of our local government areas, the payment is implemented based on individual resources, with financially capable local governments able to settle more of such obligations than their less capable counterparts”, the Governor said.

He added that “In this regard, Kwami, Funakaye and Nafada Local Government Areas can clear all their backlogs; Akko, Billiri, Dukku and Shongom are to settle the ones for 2014 and 2015 retirees; Balanga and Yamaltu Deba are to clear the backlogs of 2013 and 2014 retirees; while Kaltungo and Gombe are to clear the one for 2013 retirees only. This approach will go a long way in entrenching prudence and accountability because it is only fair for each local government to bear its burden.”

Governor Inuwa Yahaya called on civil servants in the state to redouble their efforts and demonstrate commitment to excellence in service delivery, describing their dedication and hard work as integral to the success of the current administration.

“I would like to make it unequivocally clear that our administration will not condone any form of indiscipline or misconduct that is capable of tarnishing the image of the civil service and Gombe State at large. We expect every civil servant to demonstrate the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, and accountability in their conduct and interactions”, the Governor warned.

He used the event to commend labour leaders, retiree union leaders, and other stakeholders for their patience, understanding, cooperation and commitment to dialogue during the process of addressing the backlogs and implementing civil service reforms.

Earlier in his welcome address, the state Auditor-General and chairman of the committee for the payment of outstanding gratuity, Muhammad Buba Gombe, acknowledged the Governor’s efforts in addressing the issue of non-payment of gratuity since his assumption of office in 2019.

He remarked that with this recent approval, the backlog of gratuity cleared “brings the total to twelve billion, seven hundred and thirty-six million, one hundred and twenty-eight thousand, eight hundred and eighty-five Naira (N12, 736, 128, 885) so far approved by His Excellency for the payment of gratuity for both state and local government councils”, he explained.

In his response on behalf of all the affected retirees, Garba Sama’ila thanked Governor Inuwa for coming to their rescue at this critical time of economic hardship.

He said the Governor, by this gesture, is not only paying gratuities to retired workers but also extending a saving hand to millions of their family members from the grab of the present-day economic realities.

Mr Garba further pledged the support of all retirees to policies and programmes of the Inuwa-led administration, describing the Governor as a “humanitarian leader and friend of the retirees”.

The highlight of the event was the symbolic presentation of cheques to the retirees most of whom left the service in 2013 but didn’t receive their retirement benefits.