HOPE Uzodinma, Imo State governor officially revoked payment of pensions allowances and gratuities to former governors, deputy governors, speakers and deputy speakers of the state in a bid to cut down the State’s financial expenses by repealing the State’s Pensions and Privileges 2007.
In a Twitter post, Uzodinma explained that the bill to annul the law that created pension allowances and gratuities for former political office holders in the State who spent less than ten years in office was to put a stop to a fraudulent scheme.
“The governors and Speakers Pensions and Privileges law was a bad law that needed to be repealed. it was anti-people. It was in bad faith. It was fraudulent,” he tweeted.
The governor stated that the past law runs contrary to the 1999 constitution as amended, which stipulates that a pensioner must have worked for at least 10 years and must be up to 45 years of age.
He lamented that the situation where some of the beneficiaries of such payments also get a huge amount of money as salaries and allowances in other positions they occupied puts the state in a dire financial situation.
“I needed to recover the billions of public funds that would have been lavished on a privileged few and plough it back to the more important business of developing our state. I am glad that the House of Assembly members saw reason with me and today this offensive law has been repealed,” he said.
Section 124 of the 1999 constitution, with respect to the remuneration of governors, deputy governors and certain other officers places that function within the confines of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.
‘‘There shall be paid to the holders of the offices mentioned in [subsection 4] such remuneration and salaries as may be prescribed by a House of Assembly but not exceeding the amount as shall have been determined by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission’’
RMAFC is saddled with the responsibility of approving salaries of political officials in the country.
However, the Commission approves 300 per cent of the basic salary of a political office holder as severance allowances at the end of their tenure without making provision for pensions or gratuity.
In another development, the Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly, Chiji Collins, announced the presentation of another bill for the governor’s assent which is a bill on the Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences which seeks for a multi-campus arrangement.