Delay in pension payment blamed on technical hitches, others

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Matthew Otoijagha

Delays in pension payments have been blamed on technical hitches, scheduling of payments in the Office of the Accountant General and delay of funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), and Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor has said.

The Executive Secretary in a statement issued by the Directorate on the ongoing verification exercise billed to end next week, stated that all pensioners that have been verified and certified okay will receive their pension.

She said that she raised the issue with the accountant general to ensure pensioners are given priority when funds are available. She stressed that they are always improving their service to pensioners and would continue to serve them well.

“Due to complaints about late payments, we seek to explain our payment process to all pensioners. Payrolls are prepared and sent to the Executive Secretary on or before 15th of every month for approval.

“After approval, payroll is uploaded unto GIFMIS (payment platform managed by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation) subject to release of funds. Payments are finalized on the GIFMIS platform subject to cash backing from the CBN after which the CBN releases payments entitlements directly into pensioners account,” the DG said.

Ikeazor warned pensioners to beware of pension fraudsters, noting that PTAD will never request for cash to process their pension. The general public is warned not to be misled by the fraudulent activities of pension scammers who call pensioners to request for processing fees, and or cash to fast track their complaints for payment of outstanding entitlements, she added.

The PTAD in a related development has said it would continue the verification of retirees of the Federal Government under its purview so that they could be paid their pensions and outstanding entitlements.

The Assistant Director, Pension Administration at the PTAD, Jibrin Idris, said this during the verification of pensioners of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited and its mobile subsidiary, MTEL, in Lagos.

He said, “PTAD has concluded the verification of some retirees including the police and civil service, but will do verification for the remaining parastatals. Recently, the Federal Government approved that PTAD should take over NITEL’s retirees; that’s why we have to verify them and identify the genuine and qualified pensioners among them to begin the process of paying them monthly pensions and any outstanding payments. “

After the exercise, he said, PTAD would compute the retirement benefits to be paid to them. He also said that relatives of retirees who had died were also coming forward and would be paid their entitlements en bloc.

According to him, the exercise was taking place at various centres across the country such as Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano, Gombe and Abuja. One of the retirees, Austin Onabuse, expressed delight that the verification was being conducted for the retirees. He expressed hope that their entitlements would soon be paid to alleviate their sufferings.

“After the privatization, NITEL retirees were paid pensions for five years after which they stopped paying us; and since then, the struggle to ensure that we are paid has continued,” he said.

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