From left: Head of Service, Lagos State, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola; Commissioner for Establishments, Training & Pensions, Mr. Benson Akintola and Director General, Lagos State Pension Board(LASPEB), Mrs. Folashade Onanuga, at the 9th Pre-Retirement Seminar, organised by LASPEB for Lagos State’s employees due to retiree between January and June 2015, in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos yesterday.
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Chuks Udo Okonta
Lagos State Government said it has paid N6.8 billion accrued pension arrears to 1,754 retirees of the state’s civil service between August and October 2015.
The Director General, Lagos State Pension Board (LASPEB), Mrs. Folashade Onanuga, disclosed this yesterday at the 9th pre-retirement seminar for employees who are due to retire from the state’s public service, in Alausa, Ikeja.
She noted that since the release of N11 billion by the State’s Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode in July 2015, for payment of accrued pension rights of pensioners who had been on the waiting list, LASPEB has been paying the pension rights monthly.
“From August to October 2015, the sum of N6.8 billion was paid into the Retirement Savings Account(RSA) of 1,754 retirees. For November, 2015, we are set to pay another set of retirees the sum of N1.6 billion,” she said.
She stated that the state, as at date, do not owe any employee, monthly contributions that will be remitted into their RSAs, noting that the situation in some parastatals call for concern, promising that the state would continue funding of the Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS).
“Because of the N11 billion released by the State Government, in August, we paid 867 retirees a sum of N2.2 billion, in September, we paid another N2.1 billion. We paid some retirees in October, and by next week, we are going to pay another set of retirees for the month of November. As it stands, we have expended N8.7 billion of the N11 billion and by December, we will pay the remaining balance. We are much concerned about the wellbeing of the retirees and we will strive to ensure that their terminal benefits are paid on time,” she promised.
From April, 2007 till date, she said total contributions credited into active employees RSAs managed by the 10 Pension Fund Administrations(PFAs) approved by the state government was about N59.8 billion.
She promised that the state was committed at ensuring that all accrued pension rights, being retirees entitlements for years spent in service under the old pension scheme, are credited into their RSAs.
The payment of accrued pension rights, she noted, is critical to the early processing of the employees’ terminal benefits by their respective PFAs, hence, the seminar was organised to sensitise the would-be retirees on early documentation and requirements.
The state government, she stressed, was aware that the funding rate of pension rights as indicated in the Law is extremely low, promising that the state would continue to go extra miles at ensuring that additional funds are provided to meet pensioners’ needs.
To date, a total number of 9,014 retirees have been paid N41.5 billion accrued pension rights, whereas the Lagos State Government’s funding of employees pension rights is over N100 billion, she indicated.
Promising that LASPEB would not rest on its oars until all retirees get their benefits from time to time, she said the state government is also concerned about the healthcare of retirees, saying, a plan is underway for retirees to be treated whenever they approach hospitals in the state for medical treatment.
On the other hand, Commissioner for Establishments, Training & Pensions, Lagos State, Dr. Benson Oke Akintola, said, since he assumed office a month ago, he has been busy working with his colleagues to ensure that retirees are constantly paid and ensure that the state government cleared all the backlog of pension arrears.
He disclosed that the state has earmarked huge sum in its 2016 budget, for the payment of retirees in the state, hoping that the current administration would clears all arrears owed by the state, so that retirees can collect their monthly pension allowance on time.
The seminar was organised for core civil servants, SUBEB, parastatals and local government employees due to retiree between January and June 2016. The participants were enlightened on annuity plans, programmed withdrawal module, managing health in retirement, the need to write a will and documentation needed to access their pension benefits, among others.