The National Pension Commission (PenCom) says it has begun verification and enrolment for Federal Government workers in Rivers and Bayelsa states retiring in 2020. Olakunde Olugbenga, Team Lead of PenCom verification, in Port Harcourt, spoke with Newsmen on the sideline of the exercise at the University of Port Harcourt.
“The major purpose is for us to collect information needed for the computation of the retirement benefits of prospective retirees. Biometrics and bio data of candidates will be collected during the exercise, which PenCom will use to compute their retirement benefits.
Olugbenga said that at conclusion of the exercise, a list of prospective retirees would be forwarded to Federal Ministry of Budget for capture into 2020 budget. He said after inclusion in the budget that employees would then receive payment of their retirement benefits at the point of retirement.
The pension officer said the commission was unaware of number of candidates that would participate in the current exercise, partly due to non-compliance by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). In the beginning of this year, PenCom sent letters out to MDAs to give us list of employees that were expected to retire from service in 2020.
“However, majority of the MDAs did not respond to our request. So, we will not be able to give an estimate of prospective retirees that will participate in the exercise. But by the end of the day, we should probably be looking at over 100 prospective retirees from various MDAs participating in the exercise,” he said.
Olugbenga attributed the delay in payment of retirement benefits to decline in revenue of the Federal Government, saying that in spite the dwindling revenue, government still released huge funds in 2019. According to him, the commission had sent several reminders to government to clear backlog of six to seven months of retirement entitlements owed to retirees.
A cross section of prospective retirees participating in the exercise appealed to Federal Government to ensure prompt payment of their retirement benefits upon exit from service.