By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Organised labour on the platform of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to release its counterpart funds to the National Pension Commission, PenCom, so that thousands of retired public servants could be paid their entitlements.
In a statement, ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, lamented that the inability of the Federal Government to meet its financial obligation to PenCom had made it difficult for the organisation to remit necessary funds to Pension Funds Administrators, PFAs, to settle pensioners’ benefits.
He contended that pensioners affected were those who had put in several years in service before the 2004 Pension Reform Act was promulgated, saying “after the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, was introduced in 2004, public servants who served for years before the new law came into existence were expected to have their pension bonded so that government will release same to PenCom to pay them on retirements.
“But for inexplicable reasons, the Federal Government has refused to remit the bonded pension to PenCom and as a result, thousands of public servants who served the country meritoriously for years have not been paid their pension benefits after retirement, especially in the last one year.
“It is indeed baffling that hard-working public servants, who had devoted their productive years serving the country for 35 years or attained 60 years of age are being denied their legitimate benefits.”
According to the ASCSN, many public service pensioners had died because they could not receive their pension and as such had no money to buy medication or feed and stressed the urgent need for the Federal Government to remit the bonded pension to Pen-Com without further delay.