The Managing Director of Entreprenovate Nigeria, Mr John Olawoyin, on Sunday said that only seven per cent of government workers receive their gratuity after retirement.
Olawoyin in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at a programme by Kosofe Local Government, Ogudu, Lagos, said that the indebtedness of government to retirees was worrisome.
The theme of the programme is “Life After Retirement and Life as a Self-Employed’’.
The programme, which held at the premises of the local government, had speakers from private organisations.
He said many of the retirees had died while waiting in vain to receive what they had laboured for through their service years.
“The high rate of indebtedness to retirees as regard their gratuity is alarming. Only about seven per cent do receive their entitlements on retirement, this is unacceptable.
“Government, according to records, is owing retirees to the tune of N5 trillion which it wants to convert to bond, this is an inexcusable debt.
“That governors award themselves mind boggling pension after serving for eight years at most, while neglecting those that may have worked for 35 years is a gross injustice.
“Most of these retirees either die on the queue waiting to collect their pay or bed ridden waiting to collect their gratuity; it’s a pity that things could go wrong this far,’’ he said.
Olawoyin said that it was painful seeing retirees suffer after their meritorious service to fatherland while politicians enjoy political largesse.
“It is painful seeing these pensioners suffer after some have worked for many years without having anything to fall back on besides their hope which is hinged on gratuity and pension.
“hat is more worrisome is the way the politicians are apportioning a larger part of our commonwealth to themselves without thinking about the poor masses.
“There is a need to restructure our system to encourage workers to be corruption-free while in service because thinking about what their plight may be after service may encourage corruption.
“In some states of the federation, payment of gratuity is zero, some have not even paid entitlements for close to 12 years now, the facts are there for anyone to crosscheck,’’ he said.
Olawoyin said that workers should endeavour to brace up to face life after retirement in order to live well.
“Workers need to brace themselves up for life after retirement and they can only do this by ensuring that they save for their future or better still have an investment.
“That is why we are sensitising workers how to have a good life after retirement. It is possible to live as if one is still in service while in retirement.
“First thing workers should know is that their salary cannot be enough, so they need to open up for streams of income and not waiting for government alerts only for sustenance.
“Workers can engage in the provision of services that will not interfere with their job as a civil servant or public servant,’’ he said.
Contributing, the Sole Administrator of Kosofe Local Government, Ogudu in Lagos, Mrs Jumoke Animawun, tasked the council workers on early preparation for their retirement.
She said that preparation should start on the day of employment pointing out that early preparation was key to retirement.
“Indeed, retirement starts with employment. This should be a slogan.
“Kosofe Council is passionate about workers welfare and that is the reason we are embarking on programmes like this to enlighten workers on what they need to know.
“Workers deserve to retire and enjoy their retirement, but in a case whereby they failed to plan, they get into dilemma managing whatever the meager they get from pension.
“Workers need to be financially prudent and ensure that they do not spend all during their years in service.
“Instead they should spend what is left after savings,’’ she said.
Mr Rotimi Agunsoye, representing Kosofe Federal Constituency, advised workers not to wait till disengagement from service before investing.
“This is a wonderful initiative by the local council; workers need to reappraise themselves on how they spend whatever they receive from government as salary.
“Please do not wait till disengagement before you think of where to invest. The investment should start while in service,’’ Agonsoye, represented by Mr Bowale Benson advised.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kosofe Local Government in partnerships with Entreprenovate Nigeria, Leadway Assurance Ltd and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) held the programme for the council’s workers.