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Ogun State House of Assembly says the need for the State Government to utilize the urgent window of financial facility being provided by regulatory authorities to secure funds through bonds to defray outstanding gratuities of retirees necessitated the recent passage of the Pension Reform bill by the Assembly. The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, disclosed this while receiving in audience the executive members of the State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) led by Comrade Emmanuel Bankole, over the trending issues about the new bill at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Oluomo posited that the new law which was subject to further amendments by the Assembly arising from further engagements between the State government and labour unions with a view to addressing any grey area if discovered, got the unanimous and speedy approval of the lawmakers as a result of the short timeframe issued by regulatory bodies for the State Government to propose amendment to some of its laws to conform with stipulated standards as applicable at the national level.
According to him, “When the law was bought, we had a short time, because of demand from regulatory authorities on the issue of bond; and the explanation they gave was that they wanted to set aside some fund to defray outstanding gratuities and then have a Memorandum of Understanding with those who would retire between now and 2025, so that what is due to them before the commencement of the new law would be paid by the State, while the Pension Fund Administrators would pay the ones after.
We felt it was an opportunity for the State to put smiles on the faces of a lot of people that have retired from Ogun State years back without having access to their gratuities, so that spurred us. The Bill that was passed is not cast in iron, it is subject to whatever the labour and government agree upon; we are only persuaded by the fact that those who want to give us the bond want our law to be the same thing with that of the National Law’’ the Speaker stated.
Oluomo thereafter reassured the labour unions that the Ninth Assembly would always remain worker-friendly and would continue to put in place relevant legislative instruments to promote industrial harmony between the State workforce and the government.
Earlier in his remarks, Comrade Bankole lauded the Speaker for the engagement, with a call for further engagement on the part of the present administration with a view to further strengthening industrial harmony and correcting the anomalies put in place by the previous administrations on issues relating to workers’ welfare.
In another development, the State House of Assembly Committee on Public Account and Anti-Corruption has assessed the financial records of the D.S Adegbenro Polytechnic, Itori and State Hospital, Ijebu-Ode, with an invitation to the polytechnic’s former Rector, Prof. Olufemi Fatade and the Hospital’s former Head of Finance and Account, Mr. Olasunkanmi Lawal to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday, 10th September, 2020.
The Chairman of the Committee, Musefiu Lamidi stated that the invitation became necessary as there were grey areas in the institutions’ financial records that needed clarifications by the invited officials.