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Chuks Udo Okonta
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) says over N280.77 billion is required to settle outstanding pension arrears and current year overheads.
Its Director-General, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said this in a memorandum submitted to the National Assembly Joint Committee on appropriations at the budget defence session on the 2017 budget estimate from appropriation in Abuja.
She appealed to the committee to ensure the appropriation and release of the sum of N73,091,470,658.00 to pay January to December 2016 retirees of the Federal Government.
She also requested for the appropriation of the entire sum of N113,023,255,000.00 for 2017 retirees of the Federal Government, as determined by PenCom pursuant to Section 39(3) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.
The PenCom boss urged the committee to ensure adequate appropriation under the Federal Government’s Recurrent Expenditure in order to facilitate the implementation of the new 18 per cent pension contributions rate.
She prayed the committee to ensure the appropriation of the sum of N79,155,550,000.00 for payment of pension increase for the 79,961 pensioners who retired under the CPS from 2004 to 2014
According to her there should also be appropriation of the sum of N10,039,161,783.00 being the Federal Government’s statutory contribution to the funding of the Pension Protection Fund.
Mrs Anohu-Amazu, underscores the need to ensure appropriation of the sum of N440,047,832.00 being the shortfall in the retirement benefits of 24 retired Heads of Civil Service of the Federation and Federal Permanent Secretaries that had earlier enrolled with the Commission and 16 Federal Permanent Secretaries scheduled to retire in 2017.
To facilitate the Commission’s activities in 2017, she requested the committee to ensure the appropriation of the total sum of N5,099,923,346.00 as Overhead and Capital subvention.
“PenCom wishes to respectfully inform the Joint Committee that it was compelled, in its budgetary submission to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, to stay within the limits stipulated in the template forwarded to it by the Ministry.
“However, due to the need for the Commission to expand its activities, we would like to request for the appropriation of the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 as Capital Subventioninstead of the N750,000,000.00 allocated. The request is broken down into the following project components,” she said.
She noted that the most critical challenge in implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in Nigeria today is the non-payment of retirement benefits of Federal Government employees who retired in 2016 due to insufficient appropriation and late release of appropriated funds for payment of accrued pension rights.