FG making plans to pay pension arrears to retirees

The federal government is making plans to pay pensioners who retired in January and February 2017 under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) soon, it has been reliably leant. Federal government retirees, especially those who retired from January 2017 till February 2018, are yet to get any pension entitlement, as the federal government now owes 14 months unpaid pension.

However, findings revealed that the payment for the two months has been concluded, but the National Pension Commission (PenCom) is awaiting the release of the fund from the Federal Ministry of Finance before it commences the payment of the concerned retirees.

This will, therefore, leave the government with 12 months’ pension arrears owed to pensioners under the CPS. Meanwhile, those who retired from March 2017 till now would have to wait longer to get their pension arrears paid by the federal government.

Confirming this development in an interview, the head, corporate communication, PenCom, Mr. Peter Aghahowa, affirmed that some 2017 retirees had not been paid.

He stated that the federal government has, however, released money for pension payment to retirees up to February 2017, noting that they are yet to release money for retirees who retired from March 2017 till date. He said the commission would pay the retirees as soon as the federal government released the money.

Earlier, the federal pensioners, who are under the CPS, were demanding for the payment of pension entitlements of federal government retirees who retired from January 2017 till date. They said the commission alongside the government has always promised them prompt payment of pension immediately after retirement or at most, three months after, stating that they have stopped keeping to the promise.

The pensioners, who spoke under the auspices of the Association of Federal Contributory Scheme Pensioners (AFCSP), Oyo State chapter, in a letter written to the commission, stated that this promise ought to be kept in order to preserve the life of pensioners and those of their family members and dependents.

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According to the pensioners’ body, “We wish to demand further that some of our members have not even received any or none of their retirement benefits, especially those who retired from January 2017 to date, their retirement benefits have not been paid to them and this is causing serious problems in the life of our members who are affected.”

In a related development, the federal government has released N54 billion to National Pension Commission (PenCom) for the payment of the 33 per cent pension arrears to pensioners. Chairman, House Committee on Pension, Hassana Shekarau, has said.

He disclosed this at the official inauguration of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners House in Abuja, recently. He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had constituted a presidential committee to reconcile the pension figures and that the job had been concluded.

According to him, the president also sent a bill seeking for a loan to the national assembly, which had been approved and part of the approval was to pay pensioners’ arrears. “We don’t know what is delaying it that is why I took it upon myself to make sure that I charge the chief executives, who are handing pension matters that within two weeks they should report back to me on it.

“Any of them that delay I assure pensioners that we will still move another motion to ensure its payment. I have engaged stakeholders to make sure that the needful is done. I am happy to tell you that some progress has been made on the challenges of the 33 per cent arrears.

“I have given the relevant stakeholders on pension two weeks to sit and resolve matters on the pending issues of the payment of 33per cent pension arrears since the money had been disbursed,” he said.

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