Assembly urges Enugu Water Corporation to pay retirees

By The Citizen
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The Enugu State House of Assembly Committee on Water Resources on Thursday directed the state water corporation to pay its retirees N728.15 million outstanding pension arrears.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr Ikechukwu Ezeugwu (PDP-Udenu), gave the directive in Enugu while presenting its report on the non-payment of pension and gratuity to the retirees.

He said the amount included 39 months of arrears of pension and gratuity for seven years.

“The pension should be paid on monthly basis just as that of other pensioners in the state in order to avoid further accumulation of the arrears and save the pensioners from further hardship.

“The management of the Water Corporation Board should work out measures to clear the arrears of the pension and gratuity.

“Even if it means paying on piece-meal basis, if it is not possible to pay up at once,'' Ezeugwu said.

He said that when the committee met with the Managing Director of the corporation, Mr O'brien Ofordu, he did not contest the pensioners' claims.

He quoted Ofordu as saying that there was no money to service the debt.

Ezeugwu said Ofordu had explained that the internally generated revenue of the corporation was ploughed back to service the arrears but it was grossly inadequate.

The chairman expressed the hope that if the recommendations of the committee were implemented, it would go a long way in cushioning the effects of the debt.

The pensioners had petitioned the assembly last year over the non-payment of their pension and gratuity.

According to them, the arrears  of 39 months pension was owed between January 2007 and August 2013 totaling N388.14 million while the gratuity was from 2005 to 2012 worth N339.74 million.

The report was accepted but its debate was deferred to a later date to be determined by the committee on rules and business.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Chime Oji (PDP-Enugu North) presided over the session.