…says directorate has cleared inherited liabilities of 2 defunct agencies
By Adeola Badru
A new lease of life has begun for retirees under the Federal Government Civil Service, as they will now begin to enjoy stress-free registration through the launch of “I Am Alive Confirmation online platform” for quick access to the payment of their pensions.
The Executive Secretary, Pension Transactional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Dr. Chioma Ejikeme, made the disclosure yesterday, at a 2-day Pensioners Stakeholders Engagement Forum held at Jogor Centre in Ibadan.
She further hinted that the directorate has completed the payment of all outstanding liabilities due to ex-workers of some defunct agencies.
Ejikeme said the directorate had on December 14, completed the payment of all outstanding liabilities due to ex-workers of two defunct agencies, Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation and New Nigeria Newspaper Limited.
According to her: “We completely liquidated a total of 126 months of inherited liabilities from Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation and 219 months from New Nigeria Newspaper Limited.”
“We also settled a significant portion of the outstanding inherited liabilities due to Ex-workers of another three of the Defunct Agencies: NICON Insurance, Delta Steel Company Limited and NITEL/MTEL.”
She said that the directorate received repatriated sum of £26,505,862.97 from the UK, which was pension funds under investment with Crown Agents Investment Management Limited, UK.
The PTAD boss said that the funds received was used to settle the liabilities of the defunct agencies mentioned.
“The icing on the cake was the receipt of the repatriated sum of £26,505,862.97 from the UK, which were pension funds under investment with Crown Agents Investment Management Limited, UK.
“The funds have been used to settle the liabilities of the Defunct Agencies I earlier mentioned,” she said.
Ejikeme said that in spite of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have continued to pay monthly pensions promptly and attended to all other issues
“Despite the lockdown, PTAD continued to pay monthly pensions promptly, resolve complaints, cleared accrued arrears, paid death benefits to some Next-Of-Kin and one-off payments of some Defunct Agencies.
“Such as the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), as well as ex-workers of Savannah Sugar Company who have submitted themselves for verification,” she said.
She said that PTAD in December, they have implemented the approved 9.7 per cent pension increment for Pensioners of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN).
Ejikeme said that the increment took effect from June 2016, adding the accrued arrears were paid along with the six months balance of the arrears as a result of the consequential adjustment to pensions.
“The total amount paid to this sector was N6.9 billion. In the year 2020, I declared a state of Emergency in the Civil Service Pensions Department.
“I approved the commencement of an expanded re-validation and re-computation exercise in a bid to onboard verified Pensioners not on a payroll, clear all outstanding pension arrears.
“Resolve all complaints of short payments and outstanding gratuities for the Civil Service Pensioners and their Next of Kin (NoK).
The PTAD boss said that the directorate was able to review, compute, re-compute and pay over seven billion naira (N7bn) to over 24,000 Pensioners.
She said that the computation exercise had been ongoing leading to the computation of a total of 25,950 files so far with a total payment to date at N8.1billion.
Ejikeme said that they have completed the payment of arrears accrued from the consequential adjustment to pension as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to three out of the four operational departments.
She said that the civil service pensioners have three months of arrears left and we will clear that very soon.
“We have successfully completed payment of the 24 months arrears to the Pension Department of some Parastatals like Police Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Department and the Police Pension Department.
“The balance of 3 months arrears for the Civil Service Pension Department would be defrayed very soon,” she said.
She said that effort of PTAD at recovering the pension assets with some Insurance Underwriters has been yielding some positive results.
Ejikeme said that have fully recovered the pension assets with two insurance underwriters, namely AIICO Insurance Plc, and African Alliance Insurance PLC.
“On October 12, 2021, PTAD formally launched the “I Am Alive” confirmation platform, an online application to confirm that Pensioners on our monthly pension payroll are alive and receive their pension.
“This is a web-based platform designed to enable our Pensioners to easily confirm their aliveness from the comfort of their homes or neighbourhood using either a smartphone or a computer system.
“This solution takes the Pensioner through a three-step confirmation process that ends with a text message response,” she said.
The PTAD boss said that the era of bringing aged pensioners for field verification was over, saying they stand by the promise.
“The government, under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Health has established a Ministerial Committee to look into the issue of providing Health Insurance for senior citizens.
“PTAD and representatives of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners are members of this Committee,” she said.
She said PTAD was collaborating with the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS), National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) and Federal Ministry of Health in making health insurance available to pensioners.
Ejikeme said that PTAD would continue to prioritise the welfare of pensioners, calling for the support of pension unions under the Defined Benefit Scheme and other stakeholders.
Ejikeme alongside other officials, inaugurated the PTAD office at the state’s Ministry of Establishment, Secretariat, Ibadan, where she promised that another office would soon be opened in Ondo State.
Speaking about the newly commissioned office in Ibadan, Ejikeme commends Governor Seyi Makinde for providing office space for the pensioners within the state secretariat with modern equipment for ease of doing things for the pensioners.
She noted that efforts are ongoing to open another office in Ondo State to ease the stress of pensioners in the zones who always travelled from their various destinations to Lagos for verification exercises, among others.
The creation of Ibadan zonal office is in line with the request made by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners South West Council Public Relations Officer, Olusegun Abatan that two additional offices be created in Ibadan and Akure to ease the stress of pensioners in the zones.