The Niger Government says it has paid all outstanding arrears of pension and does not owe any retiree under the old pension scheme.
The Director-General of the State Pension Board, Alhaji Tinau Mohammed, said this at a news conference in Minna on Tuesday.
Mohammed explained that on assumption of office in 2015, the state administration met liabilities of N2.6 billion at local government levels and N1 billion at the state level.
“Because of these liabilities, we had to do a lot of analysis on who was qualified and on what basis and the liabilities were forwarded to the governor.
“The governor approved monies and the mode of payment was divided into three batches.
“We paid 388 beneficiaries in the state; and N355 million was approved for payment of retired heads of service and permanent secretaries under the state.
“In local government, under the first and second batches, N289 million was paid to 347 and 304 beneficiaries respectively.
“So far, we have expended N1.5 billion on payment of 940 pensioners under the local government and we have paid N607 million to 388 beneficiaries under the old scheme,’’ he said.
Mohammed added that N127 million was paid to 569 pensioners and N52 million paid to 3,487 beneficiaries of state and local government respectively under the old pension scheme in June.
He said that the suspension of payment of retired civil servants under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in March 2015 was as a result of a lot of liabilities incurred by previous administrations.
He said that government was making efforts to resolve the problem of civil servants who retired under the CPS.
According to him, all deductions of civil servants under the CPS have been stopped until the problem is resolved.
He said that a proposed bill on the matter had been sent to the State House of Assembly and a committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Ahmed Ketso, was negotiating with the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to address the issue.
“Niger State does not owe any pensioner under the old scheme.
Those having issues with the pension are those under the CPS because of the increment in salaries by the previous administration.
“The problem of increment in salaries in 2003, 2007 and 2010 is not peculiar to Niger State only but since government is a continuous process, we are doing everything possible to address the issue,’’ Mohammed said.
The director-general gave an assurance that the liabilities incurred on payment of gratuities were being settled batch by batch.
Alhaji Baba Sani, Secretary, National Union of Pensioners in Niger, said that pensioners under the CPS protesting non-payment were not registered members of the union.
“Those under the CPS are not members of our union. Their names are not placed on pension because they are not contributing anything to the union.
“Therefore, we are not indebted to any pensioner as far as their monthly payment is concerned.
“The CPS problem is an inherited problem and we are helping them to talk to government to resolve the issue,’’ Sani said.
He appealed to the state government to address the problem with immediate effect so as to ease the sufferings of pensioners under the CPS