By VICTOR NZE
Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has approved the immediate payment of the sum of N 2,608,455,504 to 103,710 civil service pensioners.
The payment represents the final tranche being made to Civil Service pensioners on the 6 months arrears of 33% pension increment and is in fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration’s commitment to pensioners’ welfare.
It will be recalled that in July 2010, the Federal Government announced a 33% pension increase for pensioners. The Federal Government began the payment of this increment from January 2014 leaving arrears of 42 months outstanding. Out of the 42 months that was outstanding as at 2014, 24 months was paid in 2016, 6 months was paid in 2017, while 6 months was paid in November 2018.
The Directorate has now cleared the backlog of the 33% pension arrears of three main Departments of Civil Service Pension Department, Police Pension Department and Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Department.
The Directorate has also further assured that backlog of 33% arrears owed Parastatal Pensioners will be cleared in due course.
Meanwhile, PTAD has concluded plans for verification of pensioners of Federal Government-funded parastatals, agencies, and institutions under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), a statement from PTAD says.
The statement by the management of PTAD on Thursday in Abuja explained that the verification would comprise 104,133 pensioners and Next of Kin (NoK) from 270 Federal funded establishments.
According to PTAD, the exercise will hold in all the six geo-political zones of the country and Lagos.
Pensioners of defunct and privatised agencies will also be verified during the exercise.
PTAD listed Nigeria Aviation Handling Company ( NAHCO), Assurance Bank, Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL), and Aluminium Smelter Company Of Nigeria (ALSCON) as defunct agencies.
The directorate said that the exercise was to validate inherited payrolls from the various defunct pension boards and offices which handled payment of pensioners under the DBS.
Prior to the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004, pension schemes in the country had been bedeviled by many problems.
The Public Service operated an unfunded Defined Benefits Scheme and the payment of retirement benefits were budgeted annually.
The directorate also said the verification was also designed to create a comprehensive digital database of pensioners.
“The exercise will also facilitate easy access and retrieval of records for computation and prompt complaints resolution.
“It will also ensure that monthly pension is accurately calculated and reflects application of relevant pension statutes, policy and salary structures. This verification exercise is not for Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensioners, Civil Service Pensioners or Police pensioners,’’ PTAD said.
According to the directorate, the exercise is not for parastatals pensioners that have already been verified.
The directorate identified some of the verified parastatals as Delta Steel Company (DSC), NITEL/Mtel, NICON Insurance, Nigeria Reinsurance, and New Nigeria Newspapers (NNN).
Others are Savannah Sugar Company Ltd, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and Nigerian Defense Academy (Civilians).
PTAD said that the verification of pensioners and NoKs would be done in phases across the country.
The directorate, therefore, urged pensioners to note that they would not have to travel to the state they retired from to be verified as they would be attended to in the state they were currently residing.
“The first phase of the verification will commence in Lagos from April 23 to May 9 in centres located in Ikeja, Ketu, Akoka, Ebute Metta, and Lagos Island.
“Others are South-South (May 20 to June 1), South-West (June 10 to June 26), North-Central (July 8 to July 24), and North-East (August 5 to 9). That of the North-West is to hold from Aug. 19 to Sept. 2, while that of the South-East will take place from September 16 to October 2.’’