An insurance expert, Mr Mufutau Oyegunle, has called on all tiers of government to evolve a ‘special loans scheme’ for pensioners, to cushion the effect of late payment of pensions.
Oyegunle, who is a former manager with Leadway Assurance, made the call while speaking on Friday in Lagos.
He said the scheme was imperative in view of late payment of pension by successive governments.
The Federal Government on April 5 cleared pension arrears amounting N54 billion for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who disclosed this in Abuja, said N41. 5 billion out of the money had been paid to the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) for onward payment to the retirees.
She also announced that N12.5 billion, being outstanding for January, February and March 2017, had been settled, based on the 2016 appropriation.
Mrs adeosun said to avoid future accumulation of pension arrears, “the monthly allocation to PENCOM based on the 2017 budget will regularly be paid along with monthly salaries of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)”.
Oyegunle lauded the current administration for clearing the backlog, but added that the purchasing power of the pension arrears had been eroded by more than 50 per cent.
“The delay has affected the purchasing power of the money due to inflation.
“I appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort to clear the backlog but the money came in when its value had dropped.
“The money cannot buy what it could buy last year, but a loan scheme pending when pensions are paid will help the pensioners meet their obligations.
“It will help the pensioners set up businesses of their choice to keep body and soul together pending when they are paid.
“Such petty loan can easily be recovered from what is due to the pensioner, should he fail in his repayment plan.
“It is not good for the country’s pensioners to go hungry anytime after serving his fatherland for 35 years,’’ he said.
He also commended the Federal Government’s plan to evolve creative measures that would ensure full payment of pension arrears, as and at when due.
Oyegunle added that prompt payment of pension would save many pensioners from untimely deaths.