Federal civil servants who retired from service between March 2020 and March this year are yet to receive their pension from the government, according to the head of the pension commission.
The Director-General, National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Aisha Umar, said the challenges arose as a result of the appropriation of insufficient amounts for payment of accrued pension rights of FGN retirees.
Umar, who spoke while receiving members of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Services to the commission in Abuja, noted that the challenges started in 2014.
“It is sad to report that there are, today, a large number of Federal Government employees who retired from March 2020 to March 2021 under the Contributory Pension Scheme that are yet to receive their pensions due to non-payment of their accrued pension rights.
“This challenge, which started in 2014, was essentially triggered by the appropriation of insufficient amounts for payment of accrued pension rights of FGN retirees and further aggravated by late or non-release of full appropriated amounts,” she told members of the committee.
She said the federal government has not complied with the new minimum statutory rate of pension contribution of 18 percent since 2014 while non-payment of approved 15 percent and 33 percent pension increases to pensioners under the CPS continued to impede the payment of pension to retirees.
Umar stated that other challenges include the non-payment of shortfall for payment of full retirement benefits of retired heads of service and permanent secretaries; and non-payment of FGN pension protection levy.
“These have created sad and negative impression on the full realisation of the objectives of the CPS in Nigeria,” she said.
Umar applauded the Senate committee for the role played in the past to move the National Assembly to intervene in the matter of payment of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government.
However, she noted that the challenge had not been because pension liability was a moving target that increases on a monthly basis as FGN employees retired.
She sought the support of the committee to ensure that an amendment to the PECOM act is subjected to extensive experts’ and stakeholders’ engagements prior to presentation to the Federal Executive Council and then National Assembly for further legislative action.
According to her, the commission had obtained inputs from critical stakeholders and cataloged their proposed amendments of provisions of the PRA 2014.
“However, as was done in the first review exercise that birthed the present Act, it is imperative to subject the proposed amendments to extensive experts’ and stakeholders’ engagements prior to presentation to the Federal Executive Council and then National Assembly for further legislative action,” she said.