Pensioners accuse PenCom of defaults, seek payment of 2017 retirement benefits

Federal Government Pensioners, who are under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have written to the National Pension Commission(PenCom) demanding for the payment of pension entitlements of retirees who retired from January 2017 till date.

They said the commission alongside the Federal Government have always promised them prompt payment of pension immediately after retirement or at most, three months after, stating that they have stopped keeping to the promise.

The pensioners, who spoke under the auspices of the Association of Federal Contributory Scheme Pensioners, Oyo State chapter, in the letter, stated that this promise ought to be kept in order to preserve the life of pensioners and those of his family members and dependants.

According to the pensioners’ body, “….we wish to demand further that some of our members have not even received any or none of their retirement benefits especially those who retired from January 2017 to date, their retirement benefits have not been paid to them and this is causing serious problems in the life of our members who are affected.”

Moreover, the pensioners’ association, in the letter signed by its President, Chief Amao Shittu and its Secretary, Prince E.A. Akingbade, also demanded that the total amount being paid to federal pensioners, under the new pension scheme, as take home after the various percentage deductions of the various lump sums either under Annuity or the Programmed Withdrawals, are nothing to write home about. Under the prevailing economic condition in the country, they said, this has further impoverished pensioners.

Speaking on the Accrued interests arising from the Accrued Pension Benefits Bond with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), the pensioners disclosed that no federal government pensioner has been paid the interest accrued from this bond, since the inception of this new pension scheme in 2004, thereby, calling for payment of this entitlements.

“The Federal Government through the Central Bank and PenCom still owe all categories of contributory Pensioners from inception of 2004, accrued interests on their initial entitlements as at July 2004 which was deposited with the Central Bank as Bond. Therefore, we are demanding the calculation of all accrued interests (on all monetized amounts) as at July 2004, at the government’s official interest rate, ” they stressed.

Reacting to the non-payment of federal government retirees who retired since 2017, their pension entitlements, the Head, Corporate Communication, PenCom, Peter Aghahowa, affirmed that 2017 retirees have not been paid.

He stated that the Federal Government has however released money for pension payment to retirees up to February 2017, noting that they are yet to release money for retirees who retired from March 2017 till date.

He said the Commission will pay the retirees as soon as the Federal Government releases the money.
Earlier, the Chairman, NTA Association of Contributory Pensioners, Alhaji Gbadebo Omolaja, had said that PenCom has not been proactive to the complaint and observations of the pensioners about the shortcomings in the system, adding that several pensioners were yet to receive their entitlements almost a year after retirement from service, calling on PenCom to address this loophole.

While appealing to the federal government to recall PenCom from its sabbatical on the affairs of pensioners, since the welfare of all retired civil servants is one of the major responsibilities of the commission, they equally implored the National Assembly to extend their over-site functions to the welfare of contributory pensioners and make necessary amendment to Pension Act on all the shortcomings observed.

According to them, “It is our hope that PenCom would be alive to its responsibilities and the welfare of the contributory pensioners, because the secrecy under which PenCom operates is unexpected and worrisome.”

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