FG set to pay N22.6 billion final entitlement of ex-airways workers

THE former workers of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways, may soon have cause to smile as indications have just emerged that efforts are on top gear to ensure the payment of the final batch of their benefits.

Information flittered out early in the week of the ongoing move by the Federal Government to offset the outstanding N22.6 billion representing the remaining 50 per cent terminal benefits for the over 3,500 former workers of the collapsed national carrier.

The first batch of the final entitlement amounting to a little above N22 billion was paid 2018, 15 years after the airline was controversially liquidated.

According to information gathered, the Minister of finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has started putting finishing touches to ensure payment of the balance.

Some representatives of ex-workers of Nigeria Airways acting on behalf of affected ex-workers had paid several visits to the ministry of finance, budget and national planning  Abuja Office last week to follow up on the payment.

Confirming the development, Chairman, Nigeria Airways pensioners, Sam Nzene, declared: “The minister is active, very active on payment plan. In fact arrangement to offset the balance is at the conclusive end stage. It’s a matter of weeks, not months any longer. Recall the payment, I mean the balance of 50 per cent ought to have been paid since last year. But you know so many other things cropped up, and the biggest of them all, COVID-19 set in. The minister is working assiduously to making sure the payment comes to us without further delay”.

The defunct national carrier was liquidated under a controversial circumstance in 2003 by the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

While the former workers in Europe and America were almost immediately paid off their full entitlements, the Nigerian workers and those in the West African Coast were subjected to physical and psychological torture by the subsequent governments until late President Umaru Yar’Adua paid part of the entitlement.

Great relief finally came with the resolve of the President Muhammadu Buhari led government to pay them in two installments.

The first batch of N22.6 billion was paid in 2018 with a promise to pay the balance not quite long after.

The total package of retirement benefits of the ex- workers was put at N43 billion as against the N45billion earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2018.

 

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