WELCOME ADDRESS BY MRS FOLASHADE ONANUGA, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE LAGOS STATE PENSION COMMISSION AT THE PRESENTATION CEREMONY OF RETIREMENT BOND CERTIFICATES TO BATCH 46 OF CONTRIBUTORY PENSION SCHEME RETIREES HELD AT NECA HOUSE AUDITORIUM, CBD, ALAUSA, IKEJA ON TUESDAY, 19TH DECEMBER, 2017
It is with great joy and honour that I welcome Her Excellency, the First lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode to the occasion of the presentation of Retirement Benefit Bond Certificates to the 46th batch of Contributory Pension Scheme retirees of the Lagos State Public Service. The mother of the State, has despite her hectic Schedule, decided that during this yuletide season, it is expedient for her to share in the joy of those who have labored for the State and who are with their own hands collecting their terminal entitlements that will guarantee their financial independence in old age.
It is also my pleasure to welcome our retirees, whose labour and sacrifice whilst in Service has contributed immensely to the success story of Lagos State under the administration of the Governor General of Nigeria, our very own, Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode. The event of today has been designed to be Lagos State Government’s special gift to you during this Christmas season. Christmas is a period of joy, peace to the world and a period of great laughter. Our prayer is from now on, you will never lack resources to meet your needs in old age.
Since the inception of the contributory pension Scheme in Nigeria, Lagos State has remained focused and resolute to the ideals of the contributory pension scheme. Resources have been deployed to ease pension administration in the current dispensation. Structures are on ground in the pension transitional agencies i.e. TEPO, CSPO and Local Government Pensions Board to ensure that retirees under the discontinued Pay As You Go Pension get their pensions monthly at the same time salaries are paid to active workers.
Lagos state has consistently ensured that Pension contributions are given a first line charge treatment against the State’s consolidated revenue and we are happy to note that we are the only State Government in the Federation that does not owe monthly pension contributions. Both employee and employer’s contributions are remitted into individual employee’s Retirement Savings Account after salaries are received. It is all about commitment on the part of the State Executive and legislature under the able leadership of our amiable, selfless, humble, hardworking, diligent, indefatigable, and humorous Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
Our Governor has consistently demonstrated his commitment to employees. He is an empathic Governor who believes in oneness and hence he operates an all inclusive government where there is no demarcation between Mainstream, Local Government, SUBEB and TEPO employees/retirees. His administration has recorded many firsts as it relates to employees:
– First to pally regularly with labour unions and hence there has been relative peace in Lagos State Public Service
– First to focus on employee development by ensuring that adequate budgetary provisions are made for staff training and development.
– First to provide extra funding to bridge pension obligation gaps
– First to pay salaries on the 23rd at the latest
– First and the only Governor who has been paying accrued pension rights on a monthly basis
– First to start thinking of affordable homes for retirees/ease of transportation and healthcare provision for retirees. etc
Today, Retirement Bond Certificates which represents the accrued pension rights made up of gratuity and pension entitlements for active service rendered before the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2007 will be presented to a total number of 286 retirees, which amounts to N1, 220 billion.
Let me quickly remind you that it was the 18th Bond Certificate Presentation that was held when our governor came on board, and today we are paying the 46th Batch. In a period of two years and 6 months, 28 Bond Certificate Bond Presentations have taken place and total number of beneficiaries within the 30 months period is 8,262
Furthermore, the State, through the Commission has paid to 104 named beneficiaries of deceased employees in the Mainstream Civil Service, Insurance benefit of N325, 000,000.00 from August 2015 to date. This insured death benefit is by law to be paid to named beneficiaries to alleviate the immediate needs of the family members. From January, 2017, the responsibility of payment of the insured death benefit has been ceded over to the Insurance Department of the Ministry of Finance.
The First lady of Lagos state, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, permit me to state here that the State Government through the Commission will not rest on its oars until we get to the point where an employee who retires gets his accrued pension rights almost immediately he exits from the service. Lagos state is very resolute in forging ahead with the Contributory Pension Scheme which is one of the finest things democracy has bequeathed on Nigerian workers.
Our dear retirees, at the lecture earlier on this morning, you had already been educated on the 2 benefit options open to you for receipt of your monthly pension. Please take time to decide which payment option between the Programmed withdrawal and Life Annuity you would prefer before you go for it. There are different types of life annuity arrangements i.e. level or increasing annuity benefits. So please request for advice from your annuity service provider if your choice is annuity plan. For those who wish to opt for the programmed withdrawal arrangement by Pension Fund Administrators, I am happy to announce that one of the major concerns which has to do with the fact that it would appear that pension received is static during the programmed withdrawal period, has now been addressed. The National Pension Commission has released the template that allows all retirees under the programmed withdrawal arrangement to be eligible for increase in pension received based on the growth in funds under management.
Arrangements are also in top gear by the National Pension Commission on the issue of minimum pension and the opening of the transfer window. You can rest assured that update on pension matters will be communicated to you by the Commission. We will also launch in the not too distant future ‘THE LAGOS PENSIONER’S DIGEST’. This will in the first instance be a quarterly digest which we will also forward electronically to all retirees with access to internet facility.
Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to appreciate our stakeholders for their doggedness towards the success of the CPS. We appreciate your support and pray God to continually be with you.
On this note, I want to enjoin you all to take very good care of yourselves. Please remember that health is wealth. Desist from frivolous spending and beware of Pension fraudsters!
Once again, I welcome you all to this event and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year in advance.
Thank you for your attention and God bless.
Itesiwaju Ipinle eko, Lo je wa logun
Folashade onanuga (Mrs.)