The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, is responsible for the management of pensions under the old pension scheme, the Defined Benefit Scheme, DBS, for pensioners who did not transit to the new Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS. Executive Secretary of PTAD, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, in this interview talks on efforts to eradicate fraud in the pension scheme. Excerpts:
SOME pensioners have accused PTAD of using chart different from what they know in pension computation, how true is that?
For pension computation, the only salary charts we use are those approved by the federal government. And usually we get this salary chart from the National Income and Wages Commission. Within PTAD, we have federal auditors who audit the computations that we do and pass before we put people into payroll. We cannot accept computations from pensioners. The only computations we accept are those computed by us using the authorised salary chart. And now we make these computation sheets available to our pensioners so that they can understand how we arrived at their monthly pensions. We are making the process very transparent so that pensioners don’t have issues on their computation.
There appears to be a gap among the agencies that should be administering the smooth running of pension in the country, why is that so?
Without the entire sister agencies and stakeholders of pension administration working together, we cannot achieve any success in pension administration. So we have close collaboration both with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, our supervising ministries which are the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, where we maintain our Treasury Single Accounts, TSA, and also with the National Pension Commission, PenCom, who is the regulator of the industry. So there is a large collaboration amongst us.
What steps are you taking to eradicate pension fraud?
At inception, when I came in, the first thing I did was to collaborate with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. In-house in PTAD, we have set up the anti-corruption transparency unit and we have a whistle blowing system in place as well. Due to the sort of funds we are administering, internally, those who are handling pension matters for pensioners could be soliciting for funds to process their pension payments. We found one recently and have handed over to the EFCC. Also, we found that a lot of fraudsters are from the old pension administration offices. So we are being proactive, by reaching out to our pensioners and asking them that once they receive fraudulent calls they should notify us. We will have our investigations as well to go after these persons. We also have the TSA that PTAD operates now. There is no human interface with bank accounts; all monies are paid into pensioners accounts.