Workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways are now set to smile as federal government on Monday finally announced the release of N22.68 billion to settle part of the retirement benefits.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, in Abuja on Monday, 15 years after the liquidation of the airline.
This is just as the Minister on Monday inaugurated a Verification committee, headed by Mohammed Dikwa, director of presidential initiative on continuous audit.
Federal government had through the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the sum of N45b for settlement of the workers entitlements
But the Minister, while speaking on the issue on Monday, at the inauguration of the nine man verification committee, said 50 percent of the N45 billion earlier approved has been released, adding that the money will be released after the verification for payment to the affected staff.
According to her” As you are aware, the ex-workers of Nigeria Airways Limited in liquidation were not paid their retirement benefits for the past 15 years despite the liquidation.
“As a result of the delays in settlement of these benefits, many ex-workers have been thrown out of their houses, their children have been unable to attend school, and others have lost their businesses, fallen ill or indeed, passed on.
“This unfortunate situation cannot be allowed to continue under a responsible administration.
“It is on this basis that Mr President has approved the immediate release of N22.68 billion being 50 per cent of N45.3 billion total entitlements of the ex-workers of the Nigeria Airways Limited in liquidation.”
Other members are to be drawn from the office of the head of service, ministries of aviation and finance.
Others include the Bureau of Public Enterprises, accountant-general office, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, the ex-workers union, and the budget office.
She announced that the committee is mandated to physically verify the claims of pensioners and relevant next-of-kin before the release of funds to the approved beneficiaries,”
Ahmed also announced that Federal government has approved the release of N20 billion to revitalise public universities in line with demands of the Academic Staff of Universities , ASUU.
She disclosed that the N20 billion for the universities will be released immediately in line with the established criteria used by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Ahmed said that the federal government will monitor the progress of the implementation of the universities’ revitalisation with a view to resolving emerging issues and keeping its promises to relevant stakeholders.
She also disclosed that money for the universities will be released through normal channels while that of the ex-airways workers would be paid after verification.
Source: Business Day