*Retirees to enjoy free health care, bus, ferry services
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Chuks Udo Okonta
Maintaining its leading role, Lagos State Government has pledged to clear all outstanding accrued pension rights by 2021. The state, today paid N1.88 billion for 466 retirees.
The Directo-General, Lagos State Pension Commision (LASPEC) Mrs Folashade Onanuga, who spoke at the 72nd Batch Retirement Benefit Bond Certificate Presentation in Lagos, noted that the feat will be achieved through the solid structures that have been put place by the state government.
“We are sure that by 2021 all outstanding backlog will have been cleared,” she said
Onanuga stated that the mandate will be possible because the state government had currently increased the funding rate of the redemption funding account from which the accrued right is paid, from five to 10 per cent .
She explained that the government had also approved a budget of N13 billion and a pension sinking fund in addition to the monthly increase.
“We have a lot of fund flowing in to enable us make these payments and that is why in the last few months ,we have paying about N 2 billion monthly on the retirement bond.
“With this trend,we are very sure that by 2021 ,we won’t have any outstanding backlog ” she said.
Retirees at the event.
According to her, the backlog currently being paid is for retirees before April 2007 when the state transmitted to the PFA’s.
Onanuga said any worker who had joined the Lagos State service after April 2007 and is retiring immediately transmits to become a pensioners because his or her funds are already being deposited in the Retirement Savings Account (RSA).
“The accrued rights , which is the one we are having a challenge with is what we are taking a bold step to resolve, “she said.
The Director-General explained that the accrued was huge because there were years in the past when the government embarked on mass recruitment and the employees in those set will retire at the same time after 35 years.
She said the government will however need a lot of fund to pay for the benefit of those set unlike the scenario where the recruitment was not very huge.
“With what we have in place ,we have taken into consideration what we need to pay the beneficiaries till 2022 and by 2021 ,we are sure that even before workers retires their pension right will already be in theit RSA’s, ” she said.
Onanuga presenting a bond certificate to a retiree
She noted that the pensioners are majorly beneficiaries of year 2017 and some 2018 and 2019 and mostly retirees from the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
Onanuga revealed that the state would not have had problem with accrued right if it had not recognised to also carry along Local Government workers and private schools teachers under SUBEB.
The Director General however advised the retirees to make a suitable choice between the Annuity or Programme Withdrawal option according to their preference as presented to them by their PFA’s for the payment of their pensions.
She advised the Pensioners to be prudent with their entitlements and be careful with the kind of business they invest their money on.
Onanuga also charged the elders statesmen to write a will and admit it to probate ,so that it will not be a subject of controversy if death occurs .
“Make sure you write your will, keep it in a law court and in a safe place as it in your best interest if death occur.
“It makes things very seemless for your next of kin because letter of Administration takes a minimum of one year , as there are cases of even five years to process before your family can access your entitlement.
She remarked that retirees in the state will soon begin to enjoy free health insurance, bus and ferry services.
Ayira Rowland, on behalf of the pensioners, thank God for making it possible to be alive to receive their benefits.
He also lauded the conduct of the LASPEC official during the processing of their entitlements and the state government under the leadership of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for ensuring the processes for the payment had become seamless.
Koleodo Adeyemi Saubana, who retired from Education Quality Assurance Office, Education District 1, Agege, also thanked LASPEC for the treatment giving to retirees, whilst urging those that are yet to be paid to wait and avoid cutting corners.