…As NPA pensioners lament unpaid N34bn entitlements, arrears
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has disclosed that it has released N86.7 billion to sacked workers of various companies who had been into Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
But pensioners of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to pay them their pension arrears increment/harmonisation, amounting to N34 billion for the last 19 years.
But PenCom Acting Director-General, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, who disclosed this on Monday in Lagos, said the commission paid a whopping N86.7 billion for the settlement of 275,172 disengaged workers.
She said the figure represented the total paid from 2004, when the CPS came into effect, to June 2018.
Dahir-Umar also said the amount was about one per cent of the N8.23 trillion pension assets. The acting director-general noted that loss of jobs in both public and private sectors have been on the rise since recession because employers controlled expenses.
She said in order to fulfill its promise, the commission had allowed the sacked workers access 25 per cent of their pension contributions, especially if they were unable to get new jobs.
She said, “The lean prospect of finding a new job after the loss of an earlier job was responsible for increase in demand to access 25 per cent of pension contributions.
“The PRA 2014 allows contributors, under the age of 50 years, who were disengaged from work and were unable to secure another job within four months of disengagement, to access 25 per cent of their respective Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs)
“The commission also recently reduced the assessment time after disengagement to four months from six months.”
Meanwhile, the NPA Pensioners Welfare Association, Delta Ports, Warri, said that its members in Warri, Owerri, Port Harcourt and Lagos State were going through hell and dying in numbers due to lack of payment of their entitlement by the NPA.
According to a statement which was signed by the group’s Secretary, Mr. John Deine, the pensioner’s pleaded for Federal Government’s intervention.
He said they were aware N34 billion had been earmarked in this year’s budget for the payment, adding that the quick intervention of the Federal Government, National Assembly would make the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) release the fund.