The ongoing nationwide verification exercise embarked upon by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to enhance payment of pensioner’s monthly entitlement, as well as rid the system of fraud, which also received the backing of Government including members of the National Assembly has ended in Lagos.
The exercise, according to PTAD was planned to take care of 104,133 Pensioners and Next of Kin (NoK) of 270 Federal funded Parastatals, Agencies and Institutions under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS).
The exercise is planned to take place across the 6 geopolitical zones having commenced in Lagos on April 23, and will cover pensioners from Nigeria Aviation Handling Company ((NAHCO); Assurance Bank; Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) and Aluminium Smelter Company Of Nigeria (ALSCON).
Ali Ndume, chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Pensions, who inspected the verification exercise organized by PTAD for pensioners in Lagos called on Nigerian pensioners to be patient and cooperate with officials of PTAD to ensure a seamless and hitch-free verification exercise.
Ndume said it is only when they (Pensioners) are bio-metrically captured that their pension can be paid to them promptly and correctly.
He said that the ongoing data harmonization and verification exercise by PTAD is a step in the right direction to ensure that pensioners receive their correct pension and on time.
Ndume who said that President Buhari desires the best for all Nigerians including the pensioners also disclosed that he is an advocate of pension being given a first line charge in the nation’s scheme of things, adding that when the law on this is finally passed, the issue of delayed pension will become a thing of the past.
He said this year he has personally written to President Buhari on the issue of pension, aimed at ensuring that adequate funds are made available for the payment of pension.
Ndume who blamed the delay in pensions payment on the paucity of funds, expressed displeasure that Nigeria as a nation is still borrowing to fund its budget, saying this is not the way to go.
He called on government at all levels to improve on its tax system which he described as “not effective” and “not properly exploited.”
Also speaking, Kabiru Yusuf, deputy director, Parastatals Pension Department and Project Coordinator, PTAD, called on pensioners who have lost their career document and have been referred to their agencies for a letter of administration to adhere to the instruction, that there is nothing PTAD can do about that.
“It’s taking quite a bit of time for pensioners who do not have their records to get back to their agencies but there is virtually nothing we can do about that. We are encouraging them to adhere to the instruction,” Kabiru said.
When he was asked if an agency is defunct and what will happen to the pensioners under that agency, he said “If an agency is defunct, another agency would have been responsible to taking it into what I will call sunset. For the most of the defunct agencies that we have cause to verify, Bureau of Public Enterprise has been the agency that was responsible for privatization or their dissolution at any point in time. So we have worked with the Bureau of Public Enterprise to get the details of these pensioners.”
What to achieve during the verification according to PTAD includes – validation of inherited payrolls from the various defunct pension boards and offices which was handling payment to pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme; Ensure that only qualified, bio-metrically verified pensioners are on the database and payroll system; substantially reduce complaints from pensioners and create a comprehensive digital database of pensioners and facilitate easy access and retrieval of records for prompt complaints resolution.
Other reasons for the verification are to allow for integration of all pension payroll to ensure “one pensioner equals one pension”; consolidate all valid cases of multiple pension pay-points to one payroll/payment point; ensure monthly pension is accurately calculated and reflects application of relevant pension statutes, policy and salary structures; prevent and/or reduce the incidence of pension payment to deceased pensioners and provide the foundation for the eventual adoption of the “I’m Alive” programme.
PTAD advised that this verification exercise is not for Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensioners, Civil Service Pensioners or Police pensioners.
The exercise, according to PTAD is also not for Parastatals Pensioners who have already been verified including those from the following agencies: Delta Steel Company (DSC); NITEL/Mtel; NICON Insurance; Nigeria Reinsurance; New Nigeria Newspapers; Savannah Sugar Company Ltd; Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and Nigerian Defense Academy (Civilians).
“The Directorate has reiterated that the verification of pensioners and NoK will be done in phases across the country, calling on Pensioners to please note that they do not have to travel to the state they retired from to be verified, adding that they will be verified in the state they currently reside.
The first phase of the verification exercise , which commenced in Lagos from Tuesday April 23rd, 2019 on May 9th of May, 2019 in 5 centres located in Ikeja, Ketu, Akoka, Ebute Metta and Lagos Island.
Other phases of the exercise will be held in states in the different geopolitical zones on the following dates: South South (May 20th – June 1st, 2019); South West (June 10th – June 26th, 2019); South East (July 8th – July 24th, 2019); North East (August 5th – August 9th, 2019) North West (August 19th – September 2nd, 2019) and North Central (September 16th – October 2nd, 2019)
PTAD said there is arrangement on ground for Mobile Verification to be conducted for sick and infirm Pensioners and called on pensioners to come with original pension documents to the verification venue together with proof of infirmity for authentication, before mobile verification can be scheduled.
PTAD said it will never request for cash to process your pension. Pension payment is free.