The delay by the federal government to release accrued rights of retirees in the country is adversely affecting the retirees.
Some of the retirees, who spoke to Vanguard Insurance, lamented that many of their colleagues have died while waiting for their pension benefits.
The National Pension Commission, PenCom, has said that over N3 billion was cut by the National Assembly from the amount budgeted to offset backlog of pension benefits of retirees. The action was affecting the payment of accrued benefits to retirees from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, PenCom noted.
While lamenting her plight to Vanguard Insurance, Mrs. Idowu Esther Oyeladun who retired from the Federal Ministry of Information since November 2006, said, “I have undergone all manner of verification since I retired, yet no single pension entitlement has been given to me. The last time I went through a verification exercise, they said by June this year I will start collecting my monthly pension. June has come and gone, I am yet to start receiving any pension payment.”
Another retiree, Mr. Mathew Amoo Shittu who retired in 2016 said, “I retired in 2016 from the National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan. I waited another 17 months before I could collect my entitlement. ‘‘Unfortunately, the trend continued as some of my colleagues are still being forced to wait just like I did because the federal government last released money for their pension entitlements in May last year. A lot of federal government retirees are sick and need money to attend to their health but many of them have no money to take care of themselves.”
Accrued rights are pension entitlements of federal government workers before the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, in 2004. While the federal government is expected to make budgetary allocations every year to clear accrued rights, each yearly allocation has always been inadequate to pay up all accrued rights.
Last year, the federal government only released N54 billion for payment of accrued rights for 2016 and 2017. This was a far cry from the N300 billion outstanding accrued rights.
According to stakeholders, such action is contrary to the objective of the Contributory Pension Scheme, which seeks to eliminate all forms of delay in payment of pension after retirement.
Commenting on the development, Shittu said, “Government delays are defeating the motive for which the CPS was set up because the plan is that three months after you leave the service, you should start receiving your pension entitlements.
“The constant delay by the federal government to release accrued rights of pensioners is affecting retirees. As it is now, people are daily dying before their entitlements are ready. The matter is made worse by the law which stipulates that any entitlement of a retiree that is with any Pension Fund Administrator, PFA, will not be released to the retiree until government releases the accrued rights.”