National Pension Commission (PenCom) on Monday in Abuja began the 2019 retirement process with an enlightenment seminar for the intending retirees.
The retirement process includes verification and enrolment of would-be retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
PenCom Acting Director-General, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, said that the seminar was taking place simultaneously at 15 locations across the country.
Dahir-Umar said that the objective of the seminar was to assist the prospective retirees achieve easy transition to retirement in 2019.
According to her, the actual verification and enrolment of 2019 retirees will take place nationwide from June 25 to Aug. 17.
“One of the salient objectives of the Pension Reform Act (PRA 2014) is to make pension administration transparent and seamless.
“Accordingly, the commission has established uniform set of rules, regulations and standards for all aspects of pension administration, including payment of retirement benefits to retirees.”
Dahir-Umar gave an assurance that the commission would do everything possible to address the candidates’ fears and challenges in order to make their retirement life more comfortable.
Meanwhile, a prospective retiree, Mr Idris Abdulrahman, who had worked for 34 years, urged on the Federal Government to clear outstanding pension arrears.
Abdulrahman said because of the arrears owed workers who retired over a year ago, retirement now posed a major fear for civil servants on the verge of retirement.
“We want government to realise that in spite of its reforms through the Contributory Pension Funds, retirees are still going through hell in this country.
“The law says once a person retires, within three months, you should begin to enjoy your benefit. But the reality is that it still takes over a year before you start benefiting.
“PenCom should be able to articulate its budget in good time, submit it and then mount pressure on government to pay up the benefits, otherwise we will continue to go through this problem,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PenCom Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Peter Aghahowa, attributed the delay in payment to under appropriation by the Federal Government.
“The outstanding amount for accrued rights has been communicated to government and in previous times, what was appropriated was not enough.
“Once we communicate a figure to government and if money is not released completely, retirees will be affected because these are absolute figures of verified retirees.”
Aghahowa, however, urged retirees to be patient, saying that PenCom would continue to mount pressure on the government to clear the outstanding pension backlog.