The Federal Government in 2018 spent a total of N79.2 billion on the payment of monthly pensions to pensioners.
The Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Sharon Ikeazor, made this known at the stakeholders forum for pensioners from North Central Zone in Abuja on Thursday.
According to her, “N6.8bn monthly pension was paid to Customs, Immigration and Prison Pension Department (CIPPD), N45 billion was paid to pensioners in Parastatals Pension Department (PaPD), about N21.2 billion was paid to pensioners under Civil Service Pension Department (CSPD) and N6.1 billion was also paid to pensioners with Police Pension Department (PPD).
“Under the CSPD, 30,770 pensioners who had not been on the payroll had their benefits computed and put back on the payroll with their arrears paid.
“As at March 2019, an additional 1,655 have also been computed and put back on the payroll.
“Under PaPD, an additional 14,678 pensioners from various agencies under the PaPD were verified, benefits computed and paid. They include Delta Steel, NITEL/MTEL, FHA, Savannah Sugar, and NDA – Civilian.”
“On the issue of 33% arrears, which is the most relevant point that I am sure all pensioners are eager to hear about.
“As at Monday this week, the FG through PTAD has paid the sum of N2.6bn to 103,000 Civil Service Pensioners who are on PTAD payroll.
“This is an inherited liability from the last salary increase of 2010. I will like to reassure the majority of parastatals pensioners who have not received their 33% arrears that we have just paid that of Nigeria Railways.
“The rest of the parastatals pensioners 33% arrears will be paid after the parastatals verification exercise which will commence at the end of April.
“This is to enable PTAD ascertain its true liability.
“You are aware that under the Parastatals Pensions Department, PTAD owes between 12 – 24 months of the 33% arrears. But for Police Pensions and Civil Service Pensions, we have a zero balance; meaning that government has cleared all of the 33% arrears.” she said.
Concerning payment to Next of Kins (NOKs), the PTAD boss explained that it has paid 337 NOKs over N277m; 649 NOKs of PaPD (NITEL) have been paid over N613.4m; 1,019 of the NOKs in Health/Education sector under the PaPD have been paid a total of N1.9m; lastly, 19 NOKs of Delta Steel have been paid N25.9bn.
She explained that the only acceptable documentation for the processing of payment to Next of Kin is the letter of administration from state or federal high court.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, who was represented by the Director of Legal at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Gabriel Christopher, while commending the PTAD for its exceptional, transparent, and technologically driven innovation and workforce, assured pensioners that the payment of the rest of the parastatals pensioners will take effect in due course.
The Acting Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar, represented by the Head of Complaint in the Commission, Mr. Michael Ejiofor, commended the progress and successes achieved by the directorate of PTAD, regardless of the many challenges it faces such as low funds.
According to the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Dr. Abel Afolayan, “Pensioners have never had it this good in the history of this country.”
While commending PTAD and the administration under President Muhammadu Buhari for clearing backlogs of payments of 33% pension arrears, he, however, advised the government to pay speedy attention to the payment of the rest of the parastatals pensioners, and to address issues concerning payments to Next of Kins.