By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
An Executive bill tailored towards solving the problems associated with pensions and gratuities in Bauchi State has been sent to the State House of Assembly for legislation and subsequent passage to meet the desired objective.
The Pensions Reform Bill geared to introduce a contributory pension for the first time in Bauchi has the state government expecting the legislators to pass it without unnecessary delay so as to deal with the pressing issue one and for all.
At a welcome address to a three-day workshop on accountability and good governance for top political appointees and higher echelon of the state civil service in Bauchi Tuesday, the Secretary to the State Government, Ibrahim Mohammed Kassim said that pensions and gratuities have been the most pressing issues bedeviling the state government.
Kassim told workshop whose participants were commissioners, advisers and chairmen of Local Government Councils, that discussions for the smooth passage of the proposed bill have been concluded between the Executives, and legislators who were to resume from recess next week, on modalities for the smooth passage of the proposed bill.
The Bauchi State Government’s Scribe explained that with the easy passage anticipation of the bill, the state government is going to float a bond with the Pensions Contributory Commission to raise money with a view to settle every liability of each and every pensioner in the state.
Kassim, who noted that the Federal Government and other states in the federation have since completely solve pension issues by introducing the contributory pension scheme, said that with bond the state employees would henceforth keep their pensions in an account that nobody access it but them, to enjoy it anytime they retire from office.
The SSG said, “We hope the bond will be for about 40 years, so that the small amount the state now pays to pensioners would be used to offset the bond after they would have been settled once and for all”.
“So why are we doing that, is because we believe people that worked for the state would be able to enjoy their entitlements in peace, and by the grace of God, that is the journey we have started and we are going to complete it”, Kassim concluded.
Declaring the workshop opened, Governor Bala Mohammed said that it is geared to improving the capacity of participants to operate the machinery of the state government towards meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the state.
He explained that the workshop which is in keeping face with the changing trends in governance, is an option that must be pursued, hence public officers must be properly tutored and guided towards the paradigm shift to avoid paradigm paralyses in governance.
Governor Bala, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Baba Salihu Tela, further noted that no responsible government will allow its public officers to in the dark without the knowledge of their basic roles in service delivery, thus describing the workshop as not pnly timely, but necessary for the realization of government’s set objectives.
Senator Bala Mohammed said that as a democratically elected government, they owe the electorate and entire people of the state the duty to deliver to them the dividends of democracy.
“And you will all attest to the fact that we have been doing so. To this, public servants must not only acquaint themselves with policy thrust of the government, but must also possessed the requisite knowledge and skills for implementing government policies and programmes”
The Governor however noted that government’s policies and programmes cannot be implemented on the basis of trial and error, but by informed competent and knowledgeable minds, in addition to harmonious interpersonal relationship and intra-agency synergy among the various MDAs in the state.
According to him, the present democratic dispensation in the state provides for a cordial arrangement where the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary though independent of each other constitute the tripod upon which the system rest.
“In spite of their mutual independence, the three arms of government have the common goal of engendering and sustaining democracy and good governance. The need therefore for cooperation between them cannot be over-emphasized”.
He further explained that members of the three arms need to be educated not only on their individuals and collective roles, but also on how to synergize towards the realization of their common goal of sustaining democracy and good governance for the benefit of the generality of the people of Bauchi state.