…begins enrolment of free health insurance for senior citizens
Pensioners in Edo State are in a jubilant mood as the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, approved the payment of 13th-month salary to the senior citizens.
The retirees will join civil and public servants in the State to receive the 13-month salary which is set to be paid on December 27, 2023, in fulfillment of the governor’s promise of better and improved working and living conditions for workers and retirees in the State.
The governor also approved the gratuity payment for almost 400 ex-government workers in the State.
The Chairman of Edo Pensioners, Samuel Okhulegbe, at the flag off of the enrollment for the free health insurance for pensioners, at the Government House, in Benin City, commended Obaseki for prioritizing the welfare of retirees and ensuring their entitlements are promptly paid.
He noted that the governor is a friend of pensioners as he has continued to put smiles on their faces, adding, “We receive our pensions as and when due. The governor has also approved 13th month for pensioners in Edo State. Obaseki is a friend of pensioners.”
Earlier, Governor Obaseki, reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of the senior citizens, commending them for their roles in the development of the State and country.
He said, “People worked to build this country and people make Nigeria stand and their efforts should be remembered. They should be acknowledged and cared for. As a government, we took it as a priority to put the interest of pensioners on the front burner, as the way we treat pensioners will be a pointer to the way our workers will behave, making them trust the system.”
Noting that retirees have continued to benefit from the Contributory Pension Scheme adopted by the State since January 2017, the governor said, “Today we are reaping the benefits as we have in excess of N5 billion already contributed in the scheme. The State Government was not paying gratuity for 30 years but my administration has started clearing the backlog. This morning, I just approved the gratuity payment for almost 400 former government workers.”
He continued: “The fact that you are retired doesn't mean your life should end. I encourage you to start putting your papers together six months before retirement to ensure you start receiving your pension a month after retirement.
“Healthcare is one of the major issues pensioners spend money on and face as they retire. We can’t leave them just like that, allowing them to spend out of their pockets from the little amount they are receiving. So, we decided to include pensioners in the health insurance scheme.
“It’s an offense in Edo for any employer of labour who employs more than five people not to have insurance cover for their workers. They can be sick at any time and need to be treated. From January 2024, I will go around companies in Edo to ensure their staff are registered and for any Company that fails, we will bring out the law and implement the law. We will put our hotlines out to report those that fail.”
Obaseki further noted, “We have been criticized by our detractors because we decided to use taxpayers’ money for the benefit of Edo people. For them, we have done nothing because we refused to share the money. They are coming again and we will meet them when they come.”
He charged, “If you are a retiree in Edo State, come and register for your health insurance scheme. Because you have served our State, it is free for you. Our government will pay your premium for you; you don't need to pay for the services. Retirement is not condemnation to death. I thank you for your support and we are concerned about your health.”