President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the National Pension Commission to pay N34 billion to qualified Federal Government retirees (pensioners) whose pension has been outstanding.
The approval for payment of pensioners followed the recommendation of the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, on the submission made by the commission to the government on the status of the account and the huge deficit therein.
A statement by Emeka Onuora, Head, Communication Unit Pencom said the Federal Government has consistently and religiously, been setting aside five per cent of its total monthly wage bill into the Retirement Bond Redemption Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria for the settlement of the accrued pension rights of its employees since the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme as required by the Pension Reform Act, 2004.
Pencom in the statement said “the National Pension Commission would like to inform retired employees enrolled with the Commission, including the Next of Kin, NOKs, of deceased employees that have documented with the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, and documents submitted to the commission but have not been paid their entitlements that the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has approved the release of N34 billion to off-set the outstanding accrued rights of retirees and death benefits of deceased employees of Federal Government under the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.
Pencon said though “the government pension account has been overstretched in recent years with the upsurge of retirements from the Federal Civil Service occasioned by the tenure policy, voluntary retirements and thousands of unredeemed death benefit claims resulting into heavy back log of arrears that cannot be accommodated due to paucity of funds in the account, giving rise to untold hardship to these people, this intervention by Mr. President would go a long way in settling those outstanding payments to those categories of beneficiaries and alleviating their sufferings”.
“The commission would like to commend Mr. President’s magnanimity and deep sympathy to the plight of the retirees and NOKs of deceased employees of the Federal Government as glaringly manifested by promptly and graciously granting approval for this amount to be released to settle those arrears.
“Our appreciation also goes to the Coordinator for the Economy and Minister of Finance for her continued support to pension reform and commitment in addressing the plight of the retirees. “Our special thanks go to the thousands of retirees and NOKs of deceased employees for their patience and understanding with the Commission during this trying period. We would like to urge the affected individuals to contact their (PFAs) for the payment of their benefits” the statement said.