November 17, 2022

We’ve 303 ex-Biafran Police on our payroll – PTAD boss

We’ve 303 ex-Biafran Police on our payroll – PTAD boss

…Pays N610bn to pensioners in six years

Repatriates £26.5m to defray inherited arrears of colonial agencies

By Johnbosco Agnakwuru

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, said Thursday that it has on its pension payroll 303 ex-Biafran Police Officers.

The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr. Chioma Ejikeme disclosed this while fielding questions from State House correspondents when she featured at the 58th edition of media briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, at the State House, Abuja.

Asked how many ex-Biafran police officers have been captured in the pension and if the ex-Biafran soldiers are included in the pension, she said:

“Well, we call them ‘war affected’, they are the policemen who served on the Biafran side during the Civil War. Currently, we have 303 of them on our payroll; 303 currently.

“Yes, you were asking about soldiers. The soldiers, they belong to the military pension. So, if there’s any such arrangement, it will be handled by the Military Pensions Board, not by Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate.

“We don’t take care of soldiers. We only take care of the paramilitary and the police; that’s the Customs, Immigration and the Services pensioners and the police. There is a Military Pensions Board that takes care of soldiers. So they might be in a better position to give you the answer to what you’re looking for.”

The Executive Secretary said that since the inception of PTAD, it has maintained regular monthly payments of pension as and when due without fail, adding that “from January 2015 to December 2021, PTAD has paid N610 billion in monthly pensions.”

She said the Directorate has paid long outstanding arrears to pensioners across all the pension departments, most significantly, the huge arrears inherited from the defunct privatized agencies.

Dr. Ejikeme said PTAD inherited 268,897 pensioners on payrolls of the old Pension Office at inception but through certification, it has created a centralized database complete with pensioners personal information, biometrics and career documents, adding that after verification, as at October 2022, 226,328 pensioners are on the payroll.

She also said that 242,894 pensioners were verified between 2015 and 2019 and that 49,409 people were removed from the payroll between 2015 and 2022, while 40,918 were reinstated to payroll between 2015 and 2022.

She mentioned some of the defunct privatized agencies that have been paid to include, NAHCO which has been liquidated and has 661paid in a one-off-payment, ALSCON also liquidated and 1031. Pensioners paid in a one-off-payment.

Others are Savanna Bank, 1,596 pensioners in a one-off-payment and liquidated, Nigeria National Shipping Line which has 552 pensioners with inherited arrears 92 months but has been liquidated, Delta Steel with 3,657 pensioners and 96 months inherited arrears but now liquidated and Nitel/Mtel which has its 11,239 pensioners with inherited 84 months arrears and 21 months paid leaving a balance of 63 months among others.

On the implementation of the Consequential Pension Adjustment arising from minimum wage increase in 2019, Dr. Ejikeme said “the result is an average minimum pension of N8,638.74 as against about N500 in the past.”

She further said, “This pension increment which was based on absolute figures is a departure from previous pension increments. It is adjudged the most equitable and most impactful pension increment in the history of Nigeria.

“As a result of the increment, PTAD paid N37.5 billion as arrears covering 24 months covering April 2019 to May 2021 when approval was given for the payment.”

On other accrued inherited pension arrears, the PTAD boss said 33 percent of pension increment arrears of 2010 to civil service, parastatals, police, customs, immigration and prison pensioners has been cleared.

She said N1.1 billion pension arrears and gratuities to pardoned war affected Police Officers and next-of kin of deceased officers has been paid, adding that PTAD has paid over N8.5 billion as arrears of pensions and gratuities to civil service pensioners and the next-of-kin of deceased pensioners, while consultation and payment is still ongoing.

“Ex- PHCN 9.7% increment implemented and arrears of N6.9 billion paid,” she said.

Ejikeme said PTAD has repatriated £26.5 million from Crown Agents Investment Managers Limited of the United Kingdom being the leftover of the money used to pay British colonial officers who worked in Nigeria.

Also recovered as legacy pension assets by the directorate is the sum of N17.85 billion from Boards of Trustees and Underwriters of Treasury Funded Federal Parastatals.

She explained that the monies were used to defray the inherited arrears of defunct agencies and to pay-off inherited outstanding pension arrears.

According to her, “through the unwavering support of President Muhammadu Buhari who has been adjudged by pensioners as the most pensioner-friendly President in Nigeria, and administration which has made Pension an unwritten first-line charge; the able supervision of the Honorable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning and our Regulator PenCom, PTAD’s Management Team has been able to achieve the following: Full implementation of the TSA which has ensured the sanctity of pension funds and enshrined transparency in Pension payments.

“Regular monthly payments of pension without fail since inception as and when due.

“Payments of long outstanding arrears to pensioners across all the pension departments, most significantly the huge arrears inherited from the defunct/privatized agencies.

“Regular engagements with Pensioners and other stakeholders across all the six geo-political zones, to update pensioners on activities of the directorate.”