KDSG spends N30.5bn on gratuities, death benefits from 2017 to date — Official

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The Kaduna State Government has expended N30.5 billion on gratuities and death benefits to State and Local Government retirees and families of deceased beneficiaries from February 2017 to date.

Prof. Salamatu Isah, Executive Secretary of the Bureau, made this known when members of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Technical Working Group (TWG) on Social Protection, visited her in Kaduna on Thursday.

Isah said that over N16 billion was spent on State retirees and families of deceased beneficiaries while N13.9 billion went to local government beneficiaries.

She said that the amount excluded the amount spent on monthly pensions under the new pension scheme.

She expressed commitment to work in partnership with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to deliver transparent and accountable pension services in the state.

She said that working in collaboration with CSOs in the social protection scheme would increase platforms for information sharing, thereby ensuring transparency and accountability in service delivery.

According to her, CSOs will particularly help in sensitising the public about the activities of the pension bureau and provide feedback to government on beneficiary’s perception on the quality of services.

“We will be happy to work with you to create the needed publicity about what we do, particularly when a schedule for payment is out.

“Our doors are open to work with citizens in line with the principles of co-creation and co-implementation of the OGP.”

Isah added that the bureau is currently using available media platforms to publicise payment schedules, including reaching out to the pension union to assist in locating the benefiting retirees.

“We also send the schedule to Local Government Council (LGCs) Chairmen and Pension Desk Officers across the 23 LGCs to be able to reach out to all beneficiaries scheduled to receive payments,” she said.

She said that the bureau has developed a database of every pensioner with the required documents, including photographs, Bank Verification Numbers and National Identity Numbers.

She added that the bureau has equally automated the database for the payments of death benefits and gratuity, which was being cleaned periodically to ensure quality and reliability.

“This is very crucial to prevent duplication and other sharp practices in the payment of pensions, gratuities and death benefits,” she said.

Earlier, Mr Philip Yatai, Citizens’ Co-Chair of the TWG, explained that the visit was to create familiarity between the bureau and civil society organisations working in the social protection space.

Yatai added that the visit was also to strengthen synergy between CSOs and implementing agencies of social protection programmes as part of citizens’ engagement in the delivery of social protection programmes.

He commended the reform efforts of the management team, to ensure transparent delivery of services to the people, and pledged the CSOs readiness to support the bureau to achieve its mandate.