By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
Lagos State Government has issued over N1 billion retirement bond certificates to over 100 statutorily retired employees, making it the first state in Nigeria to implement the new Pension Reform Act.
However, the Federal Government through the office of the National Pension Commission, has expressed disappointment over the neglect of Federal civil servants to sign to the new scheme.
Speaking on the issuance of the bond certificates by the State Pension Commission to the beneficiaries at the state secretariat Alausa, Ikeja, Governor Babatunde Fashola said: “The development had put paid to the apprehension, fears and doubts being expressed by the employees of the state government with respect to their pension benefits under the old scheme.”
Fashola who was represented by the state Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe, also said the bonds could be redeemed immediately as arrangements have been made to have the retirement savings account of the bond recipients credited with the bond values.
He said that the amount credited into individual retirement savings account together with contributions from April 2007 and salary at the point of exit, “determines what an employee would receive as a lump sum and regular monthly income.”
The Governor added that benefits due deceased employees have also been fully taken care of as their retirement bond certificates are ready and would be presented to their next of kin of the named administrator of their estate.
With this feat attained, Fashola continued, “fears can now be laid to rest as the state government has delivered on its promise. Our word is our bond. We promise, and we deliver. So, this land-mark event should finally put paid to apprehension, fears and doubts being expressed by the employees of the state government.
“The benefits will be duly honoured and paid as and when due. The recipients now have complete control over your retirement saving account as letters of clearance have been forwarded to their respective Pension Fund Administrators.
“We expect the appointed Pension Fund Administrators to ensure that bottlenecks that may militate against the prompt release of approvals for payment of entitlements from regular regulator are drastically reduced if not completely eliminated.”
Fashola explained that the state government created a retirement bond redemption fund account funded on a monthly basis to provide for the past service pension liabilities.