By Festus Ahon
ASABA—DELTA State Government, yesterday, said it would sanction any Pension Fund Administrator, PFA, that does not pay pension claims to pensioners in the state within the next two weeks.
State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. David Edevbie, during the disbursement of payment schedules of the N2 billion recently released by the state government from the bailout fund to the 15 PFAs operating in the state, said the PFAs must comply with the deadline for the payment of pensioners’ benefits as contained in the payment schedule to avoid the wrath of the state government.
He said: “We will monitor them and where there is any delay, we will find out the reason for the delay and if the reason, in our opinion, is caused by ineptitude or deliberately by any PFA, we will change the PFA. It is that simple. There is no reason why the PFAs will deliberately want to delay payment.
“This is a small amount of money compared to the amount they have under their control. I think it is just a natural skepticism that people have. There is no reason in my opinion why a PFA would deliberately delay payments to pensioners. Why should they do that? It is not even in their interest to do that, but let us wait and see in the next two weeks.”
On the worries expressed by stakeholders over the continuity of the release of funds by the state government for the purpose of pension benefits, Edevbie said: “The only way we can reduce skepticism on the part of the pensioners is by paying more money. If this is a regular thing and we release money regularly, I think the skepticism would fade away. With time, we will prove to them that we are here to help.”
In her address, the state Chairman, Bureau for State Pensions, Mrs. Siakpere Christiana, noted that the only way retirees would appreciate the gesture of the state government was when the PFAs and PFCs in the state pay retirees their benefits as directed by the state government.
“Today’s ceremony provides an opportunity to further explain the workings of the Contributory Pension Scheme to stakeholders and it is in this regards that I wish to state that the new Pension Scheme is highly regulated by the National Pension Commission to the extent that all payments to workers and retirees must be done through the Retirement Savings Accounts of the workers via the Central Bank,” she explained.