The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), is currently asking for fresh funds to complete payment of the outstanding balance of 33 per cent pension arrears increase before the end of 2019.
The agency considers the fund request as very pertinent at this time, especially as the federal government recently approved the increase of the national minimum wage.
The Executive Secretary, PTAD, Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this during the One-day North-East Stakeholders Forum, held in Yola, Adamawa State, during which she noted that the late allocation and release of funds affects pensions, and that the directorate hopes to quickly get funds to clear the backlog of arrears, complete the next phase of verifications, compute, and enrol pensioners previously excluded from the payroll.
Speaking further, she said: “PTAD hopes to also recover additional assets and funds of the directorate currently held with Insurance underwriters, and the application of same to reduce inherited liabilities, and improve service delivery turnaround for our pensioners’ complaints.
“We also hope to further expand the number of state liaison offices and their capacity to improve pensioners’ access to PTAD services, and work closely with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to develop an enrolment package for our verified pensioners.”Ikeazor noted that a critical challenge currently faced by the directorate is ensuring that pensioners are paid their pensions at the right time, as PTAD is solely dependent on the government for release of funds.
She maintained that the directorate advocates for the prioritisation of the payment of pension to pensioners, and has made it a priority to ensure that pension payment is made before salary payment to civil servants. She reiterated PTAD’s commitment to ensuring the prompt deduction of the one per cent check-off dues in favour of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), in pursuant to the provisions of Rule 4(a) of NUP’s constitution and code of conduct of 2009.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director-General, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Aisha Dahir-Umar, represented by the Director, Compliance & Enforcement, PenCom, Mr M.D. Umar, said the Commission is aware that funding is a challenge being faced by PTAD. She said: “We are working with relevant agencies to ensure that this challenge is addressed, and the Commission is impressed with the verification and pay-rolling of pensioners of defunct agencies. We will continue to work with PTAD to ensure prompt response to complaints.”
In his remarks, Adamawa State Governor, Bindo Jibrilla, represented by the Head Of Service, Edgar Sunday, stressed the importance of an efficient pension administration to the civil service, and pledged the state’s support to the directorate. He commended PTAD for situating a liaison office in the state, as it will bring pension services closer to pensioners in the state and the entire region.