Paris Club refund: Okorocha confirms receipt of N7bn

Presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Rochas Okorocha speaks during the presidential primary of the party in Lagos on December 11, 2014. Members of Nigeria's main opposition party voted through the night to choose a candidate to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan at next year's elections, with a result expected later on December 11. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Thursday acknowledged the receipt of N7billion as the state’s share of the latest Paris Club refund.

The governor said the money would be used to clear 2017 outstanding pensions since the government had earlier cleared all past pension arrears up to December 2016.

The state government had promised to pay pensioners at the end of every month with effect from January this year.

But the governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said “however, the government kept this promise in abeyance following the steady and disturbing increase in the number of pensioners and the amount involved worrisomely snowballing to more than N1.5billion even when some states with more population density pay about N500million as pensions. This ugly scenario has occasioned the Final Clearance Programme which has already begun at the local government headquarters across the state.”

“All things being equal, the good news at the moment is that, with the current Paris Club Fund, government would clear the 2017 outstanding Pensions but would also not leave any stone unturned to find out why it appears people retire on daily basis in the state but nothing goes out from the fat pension bill and figure, thereby giving the impression that all those who retired in the state since its creation are still alive.

“The government would also use part of the Paris Club money to pay salary although the state government does not have any outstanding salary to contend with, because it has paid salaries up to the month of June 2017.

“The governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and the people-oriented Rescue Mission Government in the state would continue to, out of genuine concern for the welfare of the pensioners, the workers and the entire people of the state, work for the progress and prosperity of the state.”

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