Adeosun heightens frustration of ex-Nigeria Airways workers

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*Defunct Nigeria Airways retirees attending to one of their colleagues who fainted during one of their protests in Lagos.

The minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has said although N45 billion meant for payment of severance benefits to workers of the rested Nigeria Airways had been reconciled there had been no presidential approval and no appropriation yet for the payment.

Speaking while appearing before a senate ad hoc committee on ‘Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance’ in Abuja, Adeosun said in a press statement issued by her spokesperson Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde that “there has been a misconception in the media that the president had approved the payment of N45 billion terminal benefits to the workers.”

“There is no presidential approval and no appropriation yet for the payment of N45 billion to the ex-workers,” said Adeosun.

“The …minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, said on Tuesday that the federal government would settle the inherited debts and contractual obligations to local contractors between 2006 and 2015.

“The minister made this known while appearing before the ad-hoc committee of the Senate on “Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance.”

“She explained that the debts owed to various classes of contractors, including the terminal benefits of ex-Nigerian Airways workers, would be repaid through promissory notes and bonds issuance.

*Adeosun

The minister stated that the unpaid federal government obligations constituted a drag on economic activity across many sectors, adding that the present administration was determined to address the problem.

“She listed the unpaid obligations to include obligations to pensioners and salary and promotion arrears to civil servants; obligations to contractors and suppliers who in turn owe banks increasing the quantum of non-performing loans, and unpaid electricity bills by the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

“Others are exporters owed funds under the Export Expansion Grant Scheme and unpaid refunds due to state governments in respect of projects undertaken on behalf of the federal government.

“The federal government is working towards settling these inherited debts. The small and medium scaled enterprises are the lifeline of our nation. The federal government will be stimulating the economy by paying these legacy debts,” Adeosun told members of the Ad-Hoc Committee.

“The federal government, according to her, has approved the issuance of promissory notes and bonds to settle its contractual obligations subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

“On the ex-Nigerian Airways workers, the minister explained that their terminal benefits were reconciled and agreed at N45 billion following verification.

“She debunked claims by the ex-workers that there was a presidential approval for the payment of terminal benefits of N45 billion to the workers.

“There has been a misconception in the media that the president had approved the payment of N45 billion terminal benefits to the workers. There is no presidential approval and no appropriation yet for the payment of N45 billion to the ex-workers,” she said.

Earlier in a letter from her office and addressed to the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika titled ‘Settlement f the terminal benefits of ex-workers of Nigeria (in liquidation): Appeal for Mr. President’s Intervention’ marked OHMF/PICA/FMT/28/VOL.1/94, Adeosun stated that approval had been given based on certain recommendations and that Sirika would be notified when payment is complete.

The letter signed by Adeosun in part read: ‘I refer to your letter with Ref No TCA0036/S.I/T6/199 dated 31st August, 2017 and to inform you that we have received approval contained in the letter Ref. No. SH/OVP/DCOS/FMF/956 dated 15th May, 2017(copy attached) conveying the approval by the Acting President in the sum of N45,365, 664, 332.55(Forty-five Billion, Three Hundred and sixty-five Million, Six Hundred and Sixty-four thousand, Three hundred and Thirty-two Naira, Fifty-five kobo) for the settlement of the benefits of 5909 (Five thousand nine hundred and nine) verified ex-workers/pensioners of Nigeria Airways Limited (In Liquidation).”

The letter of approval also revealed the physical verification of beneficiaries would be carried out by the presidential Initiative and that payment of outstanding claim had been factored into Promissory Note Program (PNP) of the federal government.

It would be recalled that unions in the aviation sector have been agitating for the payment of the workers’ outstanding benefits since the federal government announced since August 1017 that it had approved N45 billion to pay the 6, 000 workers of the defunct airline.

The unions National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) have been issuing series of threats to the federal government but the issue is yet to be resolved.

They have variously accused Adeosun of withholding the worker’s benefits, situation they claim had led to the death of many of the retirees as a result of

“It is disheartening that the minister of finance has unconsciously and negatively prioritised the president’s directive on this matter.

“She has equally in a most uncaring manner, refused to heed all entreaties by the ex-workers.

“Our previous letters to the minister have failed to move her just as earlier letter from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on the matter,” said the unions.

 

 

 

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