• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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I inherited N30 billion pensions, gratuities debt, says Udom

Governor Udom Emmanuel (1)

After about five years in office, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has revealed how much he inherited from the previous administration as debt in respect of pensions and gratuities.

There has been much agitation from retired civil servants and primary school teachers over the payment of their pensions and gratuities with some alleging that they have not been paid either pension or gratuity since 2011.

But speaking in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital during an interactive session, the Governor revealed that he inherited N30 billion as debt in respect of pensions and gratuities.

Udom, who said his administration has cleared the backlog of the arrears explained that people oftentimes got confused over the issues relating to pensions and gratuities.

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“I inherited over N30 billion debt in respect of pensions and gratuities.

“We have cleared all pensions and we may not have enough to take care of all the arrears of gratuities for now.

” At times people confuse gratuities with the pension,” he said.

The Governor who decried the absence of petroleum-related facilities in Akwa Ibom State like a petroleum depot or a refinery despite being a major producer of crude oil and gas said the state government would be willing to give the newly completed 21-storey building to ExxonMobil for five years free-of-charge.

“We’re the only state in the entire South-South without a physical presence of the department of Petroleum Resources.

“We’re ready to give them that office space free for the first five years so long as they pay for the maintenance, so long as the company would pay for maintenance,” the governor said.

He said the best solution to the crash in the economy is investing in agro-based and agro-allied businesses, describing agro-based businesses as the lowest hanging fruits that any economy can fall back on.

On the coronavirus pandemic, he said the state has a 100 percent recovery rate, adding that people have been recovering from cases of even below 30 percent level of oxygen when they were admitted at the isolation centre.