The Governor of Imo State, Mr Rochas Okorocha, says 5 billion Naira out of the 12.6 billion Naira Paris Club debt refund would be used to clear part of the pension arrears in the state.

Okorocha will also spend 9 billion Naira for the payment of salaries, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mr Sam Owuemeodo.

The shortfall of 1.4 billion Naira would be sourced, Okorocha said, without indicating whether it would be borrowed.

Imo is second after Delta in the monthly arrears owed pensioners, with a 34-month burden while Delta owes 36 months, according to a report recently by BudgIT.

The Imo State Governor did not, however, state how many months of the pension arrears would be cleared with the 5 billion Naira.

In 2017, the state had estimated its monthly bill at 1.4 billion Naira, as it bemoaned the burden of meeting up with its payment.

The Okorocha government had employed several tactics to reduce the burden.

One of the tactics was the payment of 40% of the pension.

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But the pensioners went to court and the court overruled the government.

The government also embarked on the verification of the pensioners, using biometrics.

In August last year, the verification led to the arrest of 30 workers in the state Pension Board, caught falsifying cheques and writing cheques for ghost pensioners.

For the state workers, the Okorocha administration said it would pay the October and November salaries simultaneously, with 2 billion Naira already set aside for the purpose.

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