By Emma Una, Calabar
THE Executive Secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme says the adoption of technology in the payment of pensions has made it near impossible for pension funds to be mismanaged or embezzled as was in the past
Speaking in Calabar while declaring open a two day Stakeholders Forum for pensioners in South south open, Dr Ejikeme said since its creation, PTAD had consistently worked towards improvement in the payment of Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) in Nigeria.
“You may recall that the Defined Benefits Scheme in the past was fraught with allegations of fraud, corruption and inefficiencies prior to the establishment of the Directorate.
“However, the controls and processes that have been put in place, it is difficult, if not near impossible to mismanage any aspect of the pension scheme as at today.”
She stated that through hardwork put into PTAD over the years pension payment is now paying off not withstanding the enormity of challenges inherited by PTAD at inception.
“You will appreciate the sheer volume of overhaul that PTAD has had to carry out in order to get to where we are today.
“Our journey from field verifications, mobile verifications, to putting together a solid database of pensioners, benefit computation, ensuring the regular payment of monthly pensions and paying long overdue pension arrears to pensioners, has been a progressive one filled with creativity, dedication, commitment, persistence and milestone achievements”
Dr Ejikeme declared that PTAD has carried out a series of activities which include the completion of the payment of arrears arising from the consequential adjustment to pensions as a result of the increase in minimum wage of April 2019 to the four operational departments in the Directorate, complete liquidation of the 126 months outstanding liabilities due to ex-workers of Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation, Complete payment of the 219 months of inherited liabilities to ex-workers of New Nigeria Newspaper Limited, complete payment of the 100 months of inherited liabilities to ex-workers of NICON Insurance.
She said the 9.7% increment to Ex-PHCN workers with attendant arrears have been paid,part-payment of the arrears owed NITEL/MTEL pensioners.
“Two weeks ago, we paid another 15 months arrears to 5,907 pensioners out of the outstanding sixty-three months of the inherited unfunded pension liabilities. The remaining half of the NITEL/MTEL pensioners will get their 15 months arrears’ payment soon.”
She expressed gratitude to President Mohammadu Buhari for t support he has given to PTAD enabling it to completely liquidate the inherited unfunded liabilities of all the Defunct/Privatised agencies handed over to it PTAD, she stressed has trained Pension Desk Officers of the various institutions and organisations where pensioners retired from, as well as pension union executives from the six geo-political zones can use online solution to assist pensioners who are unable to carry out the “I Am Alive” confirmation on their own.
She warned pensioners against patronising pension fraudsters as no staff of PTAD will call or send any message to them requesting for payment or ask them to call a certain phone number before your arrears or gratuity will be paid.
“Once you get such messages, you should know that PTAD did not send them and will never do so.”