Pensioners currently undergoing Verification exercise in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have asked the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to pay the contributory pension savings that were deducted from their salaries while they were still in active service.
Speaking at the Verification center on Thursday in Maitama, Abuja, Architect Victor Luga who retired from University of Agriculture, Makurdi in an interactive session told the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr. Chioma N. Ejikeme and the House of Representative delegation who were on an oversight function that the Contributory Pension Scheme introduced by the government in 2004 is still holding their savings.
Victor said years after retirement, his contribution has not been given to him. “I retired in 2006 and until now, my money that was deducted into the contribution has not been paid, the whole of Uni Agric, nobody has received anything” he complained.
Another Pensioner, Cicilia Adebola who retired in 2017 told the delegation that there was a need for the monthly payment they receive as pension to increase as it can no longer sustain many of them. I get N37,000 monthly, the money is too small to feed ourselves and the family.
“With the present situation in the country, it will be good if government increase the money they are paying us, the one we are receiving can no longer cater for our needs” she complained.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of PTAD Dr Chioma Ejikeme promised that the Directorate will follow up on the matter and the affected persons will get their money.
She stated that “the Contributory Pension Scheme is the best thing that happened to Nigeria”, noting that the Scheme needed time to perfect certain processes but “with time it will help many Nigerians” as she allayed the fear of retirees.
On the issue of a pay raise, Ejikeme said it was not the power of PTAD to increase salary for pensioners but, with the new minimum wage underway, the Directorate will seek the advice of Salaries, Incomes and Wages commission concerning the matter.
She also cautioned pensioners that “the money you receive as your pension depends on the level you retire on, PTAD does not promote anybody. But with the salary increase, we will get advice and know what per cent we will increase your pensions”.
The Executive Secretary said the Directorate was committed to ensuring that the welfare of pensioners in the country was adequately taken care of. “This is the last verification exercise we are dragging you out to do, from now on; you will be on our database” she assured.
On his part, the House of Representative Committee Chairman on Pension, Hon. Alhassan Rumrum stated that the Committee had visited the 36 states of the Federation to see how the verification exercise is been carried out. He thanked the pensioners for their patience adding that, “the government of the day was interested in the welfare of pensioners”.