By Abdullahi jalaluddeen
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate( PTAD) Says it has reviewed , and paid the of Seven Billion Naira (7bn) to Twenty-Four Thousand (24,000) pensioners, Across the Country.
The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr. Chioma Ejikeme disclosed this during the unveiling of the new online application to pensioners named “I’m alive” at a stakeholders forum for North West ,held in Kano.
Dr Chioma Ejikeme said the objectives of the two-day Stakeholders’ Forum was to keep stakeholders informed of what the agency have done, Acquaint them with the necessary knowledge of how to key into the online I’m alive Application, and the next steps .
“The minute a Pensioner dies he stops receiving pension, so the only way we can verify wether a Pensioner is alive or not ,is only through this verification .we don’t want to countinue to stress our pensioners to come along all the time for verification, that’s why we introduced the technology format,so that our senior citizens can be verified from the comfort of there rooms “
She said Covid 19 pamdemic has thrown the whole world into serious set back which resulted to grounding all activities all over the Globe.
The executive secretary noted that despite the Challenges PTAD continued to pay monthly pensions promptly, resolve complaints, and cleared the accrued arrears, death benefits to some Next-Of-Kin and one-off payments of some defunct agencies such as the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), Ex-workers of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), as well as some pensioners of NITEL/MTEL.
“in 2020, I also approved the commencement of an expanded re-validation and re-computation exercise in a bid to on-board verified pensioners not on payroll, clear all outstanding pension arrears and resolve all complaints of short payments and outstanding gratuities for the Civil Service Pensioners and their Next of Kin”
Dr Chioma Ejikeme further explained that the post verification validation for the Parastatal Pension Department was ongoing ,saying Over 21000 unverified pensioners were dropped from the payroll in October 2020, and So far over 2500 of the October dropped have been verified, restored to the payroll with the attendant arrears paid.
“Some of the accrued and inherited arrears paid by the Directorate include:
Cleared the 33% increment arrears owed pensioners in the Parastatals Pension Department in December 2019
Completion of the one-off payment to Six Hundred and Three (603) verified ex-workers of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON)
PTAD also completely made a one-off payment to Six Hundred and Twenty (620) ex-workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO)”
She maintained that the Agency had also expanded the frontiers of it’s collaboration with stakeholders including the National Assembly, the newly-established National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, The Military Pensions Board, PENCOM, and of course, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, geared towards ensuring that optimal services were delivered to pensioners.
“Following the increment made to salaries of some Federal Government employees in 2019 as a result of the review of the National Minimum Wage, a committee was set up by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to review the pension and come up with an appropriate and realistic measure to increase the amount paid as pension to pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme. In May 2021, we got approval from Mr President for the implementation of the upward review and we commenced payment immediately”
“We have successfully paid eighteen (18) out of the twenty-four (24) months’ accrued arrears from the consequential adjustment across all the operational departments. We plan to pay the remaining six months before the end of the year”
Dr Chioma Ejikeme Noted that PTAD had embarked on a Mop-up verification across the six geopolitical zones.
” South-South, where we had centres in Benin and Uyo, North-West in Kaduna and Sokoto, South-East in Enugu and Umuahia, North- East in Yola and Maiduguri, South – West in Ibadan and Akure, and Lagos state. We intend to visit other geopolitical zones in due course and ensure that all eligible pensioners are duly captured and placed on our payroll”
She added that in a quest to recover the pension assets with some Insurance Underwriters has been yielding some positive result,the agency have fully recovered the pension assets with two insurance underwriters, namely: AIICO Insurance Plc, and African Alliance Insurance PLC.
Malam Ahmad jikamshi is the Chairman of Pensioner Associated of federal radio Corporation of Nigeria kaduna zonal Station and Shehu Nuhu Yakubu chairman pensioners association Ahmadu Bello University Teaching hospital zaria said the new innovation of online I’m alive Application was a great Development,and would ease the sufferings of the senior citizens.
During the event an interactive session was held between pensioners and PTAD Officials,aimed at Addressing challenges faced by the esteemed Pensioners