By Chimezie Anaso
The Anambra State Head of Service (HoS), Mr Harry Udu, has said that the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) will commence in the state in 2018.
Udu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Monday that efforts were being made to put the prerequisite conditions in place for effective take-off of the scheme to ensure that no retiree was stranded in the process.
He said the composition of Contributory Pension Scheme Board (CPSB) was awaiting the nomination and confirmation of the private sector representatives.
Udu explained that while the employee deduction for local government workers was up to date, that of the state government had not been fully implemented.
He said only a government with the interest of people at heart could embark on the programme, considering the huge capital involved.
“The position of CPS in the state is that the scheme commenced in 2014, the deductions started that time but there are a few things that need to be done, including composition of the board.
“The composition of the board is prescribed in the law but there are individuals that should come from the private sector who will be confirmed by the House of Assembly upon appointment by the governor.
“When that is done, we will have the full composition of the board.
“The deduction from the local government system is being done religiously.
“No problem with that but there is a gap in the state which the government is making serious effort to rectify.
“The effective take-off will not be later than next year, and you know under the scheme, there is a three-year moratorium for those about to retire but because of the hitch, the governor decided to extend it to avoid some people being trapped,” he said.
The HoS lauded the state workforce for justifying the government’s gesture of prompt payment of salaries, adding that all was being done to make them happy.
He reiterated the zero tolerance of government to truancy and absenteeism, noting that the clock-in machine mechanism had helped to ensure that workers were regular at their duty post.
“Workers get their salaries 24th of every month, just as pensioners get their pensions.
“That is why our governor acquired the sobriquet of `alert governor’.
“Labour has contributed immensely to shore up the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.
“We have a clock-in machine which is used to check absenteeism and truancy; for areas that are not yet covered by these machines, we have occasional raids.
“According to the civil service rule, absence without leave renders you liable for dismissal without formality,” he said.
On the circular that no worker in Anambra will receive salary without possession of Voter’s Card, Udu said it was not meant to witch-hunt anybody but to fight voter apathy.
He said it was a decision of the State Executive Council targeted at ensuring that those who attained 18 years recently or had not registered should register to vote.
“Voter apathy is a serious issue here; stakeholders including civil society groups, have expressed concern with this pattern, so it is a decision of the state executive council.
“The directive does not affect everybody but those who have attained 18 years and those who for any reason have not registered.
“You can register and choose not to vote on the Election Day; after-all, to vote is a civic duty, but it is not meant to witch-hunt anybody.