By Victor Ahiuma-Young
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Contributory Pension Scheme Sector, NUPCPS, has pleaded with the National Pension Commission, PenCom, to direct Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, and insurance companies to pay the 2.5 per cent differential released by the Federal Government, to members en-bloc to halt further death of retirees.
NUPCPS in a communiqué at the end of its Central Executive Council, CEC, meeting at the NUP national headquarters, Abuja, also called on PenCom Board to urgently approve and commence implementation of the N14, 000 minimum pensions to beneficiaries of the contributory pension scheme.
The communiqué was ratified by all the 35 participants of the CEC, who attended the meeting from states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
The Union appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari, for being pensioners -friendly and sensitive to have approved and released the fund for the settlement of outstanding pension liabilities to retirees of the Contributory pension Sector, CPS.
NUPCPS appealed to PenCom to ensure that the money was paid directly to the beneficiaries by the PFAs and insurance companies, to lessen their burden and save them from untimely death, rather than stock in their Retirement Savings, RSAs, Account or to boost up the annuity policy balances in insurance companies.
The communiqué, signed by the National Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Sylva Nwaiwu and its National Secretary, Adebayo Martins, said, “the Union demands that the National Pension Commission, PenCom, approves and direct all Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, and the Insurance companies to commence an en-bloc payment of the 2.5 percent differential released by the Federal Government, which takes effect from lst July, 2014, directly to all beneficiaries as arrears arising from shortfall of employer’s pension contribution, instead of coercing retirees to take it either as addition in part or as a whole to their Retirement Savings, RSA, Account balance or to boost up the annuity policy balances of those with the Insurance companies.
“That; the Union is aware that PenCom is guided by the-Act in its decisions and operations. However, it is strongly believed that administrative approach with human face by the Commission as it has done in addressing some of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (as amended) through directives to the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), would no doubt effectively address the desire of the beneficiaries in this regard to avoid further deaths of our members due to increasing poverty experienced by retirees in this sector.”
The pensioners also urged “PenCom in collaboration with the National Incomes, Wages and Salaries Commission, to facilitate and fasten payment of the outstanding pension arrears of 15 percent in 2007, 33 percent in 2010 and the consequential adjustment arising from the current national minimum wage, which are yet to be paid to retirees under the contributory pension scheme sector unlike their colleagues under the old Defined Benefit Scheme, DBS.
The communiqué read: “That; the Union (NUPCPS) appreciates PenCom’s display of the template for the payment of pension lump sum on their website, but finds it too technical for the understanding of pensioners. It, therefore, appeals that it should be made simpler or for the Commission to organize enlightenment fora in collaboration with the Union on the above subject.
“The various deductions from retirees’ salaries through the IPPIS platform including the National Housing Fund, NHF, should be paid promptly to retirees by the authorities concerned. PenCom should as a matter of urgency, now that its Board has been constituted, implement the agreed and approved amount of fourteen thousand, four hundred naira (N14,400) as minimum pension payable in the contributory pension scheme.”
Also, the Union appealed to government at all levels to consider payment of gratuity to Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, retirees as additional benefit as being provided for in section 4, (4) (a) of the 2014 PRA (as amended).
The members of NUPCPS appreciated the support received from the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners in the course of the struggle to enhance their welfare and welfare of CPS retirees.
They affirmed their continued affiliation and unflinching loyalty to the leadership of the NUP as their parent body and the sole umbrella body recognized by act of parliament to unionize all Nigerian Pensioners.