By Victor Ahiuma-Young
The Federal Government still owes over N90.1 billion pension inherited unfunded liabilities to redundant agencies and parastatals, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, has said.
The Directorate disclosed this at the training workshop it organised for pension correspondents in Abuja.
Deputy Director of Parastatals, Pension Department, PaPD, of PTAD, Yusuf Umar, who disclosed this, said the outstanding revealed that the defunct Nigeria Telecommunications Nitel/Mtel had the largest with N73 billion unfunded liability, translating to 81 per cent.Umar said others were Delta Steel – N7. 9 billion, NICON Insurance – N4. 9 billion and New Nigeria Newspaper – N2. 9 billion, noting that “There are currently 92,373 pensioners drawn from 265 agencies under the PaPD.
According to him, the amount remained a concern for the Directorate, several engagements were ongoing to sort the funds and offset the liability, saying: “This has continued to be an issue for the Directorate, further discussions are ongoing with the government. So far, a lot of progress has been made in this direction.”
On her part, the Deputy Director of Pension Support Services Department, PSSD, Mrs Amina Abdullahi, speaking on the I AM ALIVE CONFIRMATION, explained that the web-based solution is to confirm that pensioners are alive.According to her: “The initiative is a web-based solution to confirm the “aliveness” of verified pensioners on PTAD Monthly Pension Payroll so that they can continue to receive a monthly pension.
“Web-based solution simply means that it can be accessed either with a computer or a phone.
“Pensioners can access the I AM ALIVE CONFIRMATION application from their homes or residential locations, without the need to go to the PTAD office.”
Stating the benefits, she said that the application is convenient, easily accessible, secures authentication, takes short time, saves cost and allows PTAD periodically to update the pensioners’ database.
Meanwhile, PTAD said its recently launched web-based verification platform for retirees under the Defined Benefit Scheme, DBS, codenamed I Am Alive, has received over 7,000 hit attempts for verification, with 5,010 successful.
Also, the directorate said 55 per cent of those who were successful did so through facial recognition, while 45 per cent did it by fingerprint.The use of the digital verification exercise was launched last month to ease the process of future validation of pensioners on our payroll and was still at the testing phase.Earlier, the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, urged journalists to continue with their credible reports on pension matters and urged them to do better, stressing the importance of media to the operations of PTAD.
Ejikeme, who was represented by Mr Abdallah Abubakar, said the workshop was to adequately inform the correspondents about the Act establishing PTAD, mandate and the different operational departments in the directorate.
According to her: “It is very important, as reporters, to understand where we are coming from, and what exactly we do, so you can fully appreciate where we are and report accurately.
“Pension management in Nigeria is a very sensitive issue, and PTAD has been at the forefront since inception, ensuring that the welfare of pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme remains a priority.
“As our partner in progress, we rely on the media, especially our reporters, to work with us to ensure that this mandate is fulfilled. It is our intention to foster the already robust relationship between PTAD and the Media, correct all misrepresentations and inform them of the next steps we intend to take as we work hard to ensure that the welfare of our pensioners is sustained.”