Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said his inability to pay pensions arrears ruining over 17 months was due to shortfall in allocations from the Federation Account.
In a statement at the weekend by the his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, in response to last Wednesday’s protest by retirees, Okorocha urged them to wait till the workers’ verification exercise is concluded in the next few weeks.
Urging those, who are in support of the protest to desist from the act, he said, “The only area the governor felt and still feels worried with the pensioners is their failure or inability to find out the reason for the delay in the payment of their pensions since such hadn’t arisen before now.
He said the state used to pay pensioners as and when due until the recent economic crunch, adding “The pensioners do not need to be told that the governor loves them greatly and would have also loved to pay them all the arrears outrightly.”
“The economic situation in the country at the moment occasioned by the mismanagement of the country’s resources over the years, which has also negatively affected finances of the states has called for stringent measures in the payment of salaries and pensions.
He said government wasn’t equally perplexed to discover that between 2011 and now, the number of pensioners in the state has snowballed by 500 per cent, and the amount required to settle arrears has grown from hundreds of millions to billions of naira,” he added.