Mr. Shamsudeen Usman
By Dele Ogbodo
The Senate Committee on Establishment Monday described the allocation of N199.343 million as pension for the military in the 2013 budget as grossly inadequate.
The committee warned the Executive against the poor handling of military pensioners as improper handling of such sensitive matters could cause security crisis in the country.
While analysing the ministry’s 2013 budget breakdown before the Senate Committee on National Planning and Poverty Alleviation, the Minister of National Planning, Mr. Shamsudeen Usman, advised the National Assembly to henceforth assess the performance of the 2013 budget of the various ministries based on the score card of President Jonathan’s assessment performance index for ministers.
In a remark, the Chairman Senate Committee on Establishment, Senator Aloysius Etok, said the Committee will do all it takes to ensure the upward review of the pensioners funds, adding that the 53 per cent increment on pension will be paid to the pensioners.
He further lamented that only 47 percent the capital vote for the 2012 budget was implemented against the 80 percent of recurrent expenditure. According to him, those who are experts in the handling of arms and ammunition should not be allowed to resort to the use of weapons as means of livelihood.
Recalling his experience at the hands of former security operatives turned criminals, he said: “I once had that experience in the hand of armed robbers who told me they are ex-service men. The way they handle the guns showed that they are professionals. So in my own opinion, it will augur well for the country to allowed our retired servicemen to resort to such kind of thing because they have no other source of income,” he said.
Etok said the committee will assist the board to obtain the sum of N10 billion against the sum of N15 billion being sort for by the board for the construction of its permanent office. He however noted that the present office of the board is lacking in maintenance and care for the pensioners.
While urging the board to make sure that health care facility is provided for pensioners, Etok warned that any retiree who falls sick while appearing before the board for clearance or whatever is a responsibility of the board and they may not be able to do this if the facility is not provided.
“During the pension probe I have had a cause to pay the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand naira for the treatment of a pensioner who appeared before us to present a position paper. We saw it as our responsibility because he was our guest and we pay the money so the same applied to the board too,” he said.