Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Rivers state, Sen. Magnus Abe says the issue of pensioners going through difficulties to get their pension would be a thing of the past if elected governor of the state next year.
Abe said this when asked about his plans for pensioners during a Question and Answers session in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
During the session one Chima Boms from Port Harcourt LGA asked: “Senator Magnus Abe , what are your plans for pensioners who are being owned their retirement benefits by the state at this time under the ruling party in the State?
Senator Magnus Abe Responded:
Let me start by saying that the challenges of pensioners in this country are not new, but that does not make it any less painful.
I remember that when I was Secretary to Rivers State Government, I had tried to convene a meeting of some of the senior civil servants to interface with them on this issue.
My point at that time being that some of the civil servants who are currently in service do not realize that they are the pensioners of tomorrow, but they continue to treat the problem of pensioners as if it’s a problem only for those who are no longer in service.
Now, the idea of what I wanted to do at that time was to begin a processed phase of exit from the service where about a year before you actually leave, you begin a process of winding down.
We take you through a training process on how to handle your retirement, and then we take you through the process of computing and arranging your benefits and gratuities and all that so that by the time you actually leave the service, you have actually been fully prepared and then your benefits and all that can be completed and paid to you before your actual date of disengagement from service.
But unfortunately, the senior civil servants themselves, partly because they are not the ones that are affected, were not really enthusiastic or interested in that process that I tried to set up at that time because of that agreement.
So my plans haven’t changed. If I have the opportunity to serve as your governor from next year, as soon as we come in, we will ask the civil servants, those who are currently in service, to now draw up a process by which cilvil servants that are disengaging from the service of the state will do so painlessly.
Currently, when you want to retire, sometimes for one year after retirement, people are still running around, processing their papers. Paying something here and there to people who are in service to try to get them to process their papers. In fact, I don’t think we should dwell long on this.
Let me say that if we get the privilege to serve as the governor from next year, some of these issues will be a thing of the past because a laborer is entitled to his wages and the financial plan of the state must capture pensions upfront so everyone gets his or he due without pain.