By Ukpe Philip
… Apologises To Ex-NITEL, MTEL Workers
The Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Dr. Chioma Ejikeme, has said that pensioners of defunct privatized agencies have so far received N39bn.
She also said the backlogs owed workers of pensioners of defunct NITEL and MTEL will be settled soon.
The PTAD was established in August 2013 by Section (30) 1 of the Pensions Reform Act of 2002.
The Act was repealed by Sec (42) of the Pension Reforms Act of 2014 to consolidate and manage pensions under the Defined Benefits Scheme for pensioners who retired on or before June 30, 2007, and did not transit to the Contributory Pensions Scheme.
Ejikeme said on Thursday during the weekly State House briefing that PTAD has reformed the system and does not wish to be associated with horrifying pictures of pensioners who she said are “state pensioners.”
According to the PTAD boss, a total of N61.12 of pension arrears, Next of Kin of deceased pensioners among others have been paid.
The Executive Secretary said, “I will enjoin pensioners of NITEL, MTEL to bear with us. Government is sensitive to your plight and the government is committed to liquidating the balance of the arrears. At PTDAD we have paid a total of N39bn in arrears to the defunct privatised agencies.
“The Next of Kins of deceased pensioners in all the payments that we are making and so far, we have paid 3,832 Next of Kins of deceased pensioners across six geopolitical locations totalling N7.13bn and it is a continuous process.
“We do have challenges sometimes with the payments of NOKs because of incomplete documentation and we keep saying NOK payments are like money in the belly of the tiger. If you make a mistake to pay in that bulk money, retrieving it is a problem. So, we always go through a lot of due diligence when it comes to payment of NOK of the deceased.”
She said the implementation of the consequential adjustments arising from the minimum wage increase of 2019 has been put into consideration.
“The first is the fact that the consequential adjustment is not based on the way pension increments were done in the past. Pension increment in the past was done based on percentages. We had the 33 per cent, or 50 per cent across the board.”
She added, “There are some pensioners whose pension is N100,000. You offer him that 33 per cent increment. You have a pensioner whose pension is N500 and you offer him the same 33 per cent increment. What are you doing? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.,” she said.
She argued that the whole idea behind an increment is to handhold and pull up the people who are on the lower cadre.
She revealed that PTAD paid a total of 226,299 pensioners who have received an “increment of N37.5bn as arrears covering 24 months covering April 2019 to May 2021 when approval was given for the payment.
The DG also revealed that PTAD recovered N17.85bn Legacy Pension Assets from the Board of Trustees and underwriters of Treasury Funded Parastatals.
FG Pays N39bn Pension Arrears Of Defunct Privatised Agencies is first published on The Whistler Newspaper
Source: The Whistler.