Retired civil Servants in Benue State have an outstanding gratuity worth N7.4 billion owed them by the state government.
The Head of Service, Terna Ahua, who disclosed this to newsmen in Makurdi, said that the debts dated back to 1995.
He said that the amount represented unpaid gratuities, owed either to retired civil servants or their next of kin.
Ahua said that it was unfortunate that during the military era, many public servants were relieved of their jobs, even when there were no resources to settle their benefits.
“Ever since, the debt stock has continued to grow, with little attention being paid to it by successive administrations,” he said.
The head of service said that the implementation of the new minimum wage in the state had also compounded the problems “since civil servants now retire with enhanced benefits”.
“As at June 2013, the backlog of unpaid gratuities stood at a staggering sum of N7, 403,108,037.94,” he said.
Pointing out that the state government spent N245 million monthly on the payment of pensions, Ahua
disclosed that the state government was exploring the possibility of implementing the contributory pension scheme as one of the ways of addressing the problem in the future.