By Godwin Oritse
Managing Director, Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Malam Abdul Salam Mohammed has said that the impression created of the Authority by retirees and serving employees as a â€œbottomless pit and sea never dryâ€ must change if the organisation must progress.
Mohammed stated this when he met with members of theÂ House Committee on Pension saying the trend of recent events and financial decisions in the Authority would determine its sustain ability or otherwise in the nearest future.
He noted that the thinking of workers is such that the NPA could never be broke and this is contrary to the reality on ground.
Mallam Abdul Salam reiterated the determination of the Management to live up to its responsibility of consolidating and building on the Authorityâ€™s Superannuation and pensions fund, currently worth N30billion .
He explained that while several organisations are finding it extremely difficult managing their pensioners, NPA has remained consistent in makingÂ Â payments to its pensioners as at when due, from its internally generated revenue.
Citing an example, in meeting its financial obligations to its pensioners, the NPA boss explained that between January and December last year, the Authority had spent about seven billion naira in various payments to its pensioners, the amount consisting of N3.8 billionÂ paid as pension monthly, N130 millionÂ gratuity, N97 million death benefits and N2.8 billionÂ as pension contributions.
With a current total of 7,046 retirees in its monthly pension payroll, the former university teacher said the least paid pensioner of the authority earns N130,000Â monthly while the highest paid pensioner takes home N400,000 naira monthly, giving an average monthly payment of N35,000 per pensioner, adding that the amount payable is determined by terminal condition of the beneficiaries, especially year of retirement and position or rank at retirement.
In addition, he said, the pensioners and their dependants also enjoy medical services as well as a scholarship scheme for their wards, adding that these are gestures and goodwill few organisations of similar status in the country offer to their pensioners.
Mallam Abdul Salam also expressed displeasure over the accusation of mis-management and depleting of the superannuation/pension fund over the years by the management, as alleged by union members.
HeÂ said that the Authority was willing to open its books to the public either as a committee of the National Assembly or any recognised government agency to investigate.
Earlier, Chairman House Committee on Pension Hon.Rasak Adewusi had urged both the Management and the Association to submit themselves to the committee intervention effort to reach an amicable and permanent settlement to the issue of the payment of pension increase and arrears.
The committee advised the two parties to renegotiate on the matter in the spirit of give and take and report back to it after a month.