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Tap from Our Knowledge Reservoir, Retirees Tell Govt

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By Our Reporter

Local government retirees in Cross River, under the aegis of Association of Cross River State Local Government Pensioners, have called on government at all levels to utilise the untapped reservoir of knowledge of retirees to achieve the desired economic growth and development of the state and country.

The call was made by the chairman of the association, Comrade Bassey Okosin in an address presented at the 9th Annual Conference/ Thanksgiving Service of the association in Calabar with the theme “Engaging the under-utilised senior citizens wealth of experience for socio- economic growth and development”.

Okosin who described the theme of the conference as apt said retirees usually referred to as senior citizens, though retired still have a lot to offer that would add value to the public/ civil service and indeed the society at large.

He observed that Nigeria and Cross River state in particular are in dire need of economic growth and development especially now that a large number of its workforce were about to disengage from service.

He said, retirees, who he described as men of residual knowledge in conjunction with the new breed, are expected to run the system in order to achieve the much needed growth in national income and annual per capita income.

The chairman argued that for a society to grow economically among other indices, the under-utilised knowledge and experience of retirees acquired over the years in the sectors of healthcare,education and employment were most needed and must not be allowed to perish with them.

Okosin said during the nine years of its existence, the association had carried out programmes and projects in the areas of free medical health, loans scheme, agriculture programme, skill acquisition and entrepreneurship, 

revision of the association book, “Cross River State at a Glance” and the purchase of the property presently serving as its secretariat at no 7 Iso Oqua street, Calabar.

He enumerated others to include loan from Union Bank to interested members to help address some of their financial challenges, the association’s effort in ensuring a successful pensioners verification exercise carried out by the Local Government Pension Board in June, 2022 and liaison activities with Local Government Pension Board and other relevant Pension managers to project matters that are beneficial to its members, among others.

While commending the government for payment of its members monthly pension, he regretted the on payment of a backlog of pension arrears and gratuities for the past 12 years and non payment of pensions owed members in 2016 and non implementation of CONHESS to health staff and promotion of retirement.

The chairman enumerated other challenges faced by the association to include death of members, the problematic takeover of pension payment platform by the Auditor- General for Local Government  and the non remittance of building levies/ monthly dues.

In their goodwill messages, the state Head of Service, Mr Timothy Ogbang Akwaji, Commissioner for Local Government Affairs,Hon Mrs Stella Odey- Ekpo among others commended members of the association for their enthusiasm to continue to contribute their quota to nation building after three and half decades of distinguished career and however advised them to also engage in those activities and exercises that will enable them keep fit and strong.

The three- day conference which started on 2nd – 4th December, 2022 featured a free medical outreach and birthday celebration for members,carnival float/ visit to home of the aged, symposium, launching of the 2nd edition of a book entitled Cross River State at a Glance edited by the association, exhibition by local government chapters of the association as well as cultural dances and displays by members.

The celebration was rounded off with a thanksgiving service at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Navy Barracks, IBB Way, Calabar.

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