Actualising Result-oriented Public Service With Efficient and Effective Pension Administration


Akintola Benson

The Lagos State Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions’ (MET&P’s) has embraced the Service Charter Policy of the Lagos State Government by renewing and emphasising its commitments towards excellent service delivery.

The service delivery is through a systematic approach to governance, development of effective, efficient and proactive management skills, sustenance of harmonious labour/industrial relations, with well trained staff committed towards providing customers with needed and relevant information and maximising customer satisfaction through all professional channels available.

The overall target is to develop a virile workforce with satisfying post service life through the sustenance of ethical values and effective career and pensions management.

The ministry has been driven by the commitment of the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s quest to make Lagos globally competitive in all sectors. The enviable position that the state has attained today has been driven by the vision of making Lagos, Africa’s Model Mega City operating as a global economic hub that is safe, secure, functional and productive. The ministry’s vision of being the leading government Agency for the development of a result-oriented public service would be achieved through capacity building/career development of public servants, maintenance of peaceful industrial harmony and seamless pension’s administration. The ministerial mandates include development of a virile workforce with satisfying post service life through the sustenance of ethical values and effective career and pension’s management.

The strides being made by the ministry as a co-operating and complimentary in the exceptional private sector and government enabled innovations springing across all facets of governance and society in Lagos State.
One of the notable services we embarked on this year relates to extensive capacity building and manpower training. We secured the governor’s authorisation to pursue and implement a set of ‘outside-the-box’ initiatives that will exponentially expand the execution of the mandates of the ministry in the areas of manpower training while preserving scarce government resources. In addition to the initiatives already approved for the ministry in 2017, these proposed initiatives will herald a novel set of manpower initiatives that will make the target officers of the civil service better suited to meet the modern, evolving and digital-era dynamic expectations of citizens from the government. The initiatives are public engagement trainings, public interests engagement forums; sector-specific specialised trainings; life skills acquisition programmes and exchange programmes.

The structure of the ministry comprises two Offices and two Parastatals, namely, Office of Establishments and Training (OE&T); Civil Service Pensions Office (CSPO); Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC) and; Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC). It is headed by the Commissioner that has Permanent Secretaries as Administrative Heads, while the Parastatals are headed by Directors General. It can boast of success and benchmark achievements as a result of its commitment towards human capital development, management consultancy, career management and maintenance of harmonious industrial climate. The office is administratively divided into five departments which include Establishments Department, Industrial Relations Department; Training Department; Administration and Human Resources Department; and Accounts Department.

The Establishment Department is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with extant rules and provisions in addition to policy formulation and implementation with the Office of the Head of Service and other core establishment Agencies. So far, 4286 Personnel Management Board Meetings on Establishment matters, such as recruitment, promotions, discipline, exit, conversion, advancement, etc. were attended by Officers in the Department, at Ministries, Department and Agencies as well as Parastatal Organisations at various locations in the five divisions of the state was carried out by the department within the period under review:
Among other activities of the establishment the year 2017 bilateral personnel budget discussion commenced in the month of May, 2016 and was concluded in August 2016. The approved year 2016 personnel budget signed by the governor are personnel cost which include basic salary and allowance of N72.55 billion, personnel cost (consolidated) at N1.9 billion and other personnel cost of N1 million. The department, in conjunction with the Office of the Head of Service and the Office of the Auditor General on the directive of the Governor conducted a verification exercise on non-pensionable staff in the 20 Local Government Council and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the State. The recommendations of the Committee have been approved for implementation by the Governor.

Also in conjunction with the Office of Transformation, Creativity and Innovation, the department carried out an exercise on workforce planning and streamlining of contract appointment at the Lagos Water Corporation. In line with extant provisions, approvals for payment of severance allowance in respect of political office holders who had completed their tenure in office were obtained from the Governor. The department compiled and submitted the changes witnessed on establishments matters within the last 50 years in Lagos State towards the celebration of Lagos at 50. In line with the directive and magnanimity of the Governor for the replacement of written examinations towards promotions, with structured training, the office supervised the compliance of the directive, service–wide.

The Industrial department engaged in regular working visitations to all industrial unions in the State Public Service including the tertiary institutions in the State. The objective is to foster harmonious relationship between the management of MDAs and Unions in the State Public Service. The initiative is also to sniff out areas of potential conflicts and to nip such conflicts in the bud before they escalate to crises.

The Civil Service Pensions Office (CSPO) on its part is saddled with the core responsibility of processing of terminal benefits of staff who exit the system by way of statutory or voluntary retirement i.e. those who disengage on the “Pay As You Go” Scheme, processing of payment of pensions and gratuities; maintaining comprehensive and up-to-date personnel records for pensioners of the Civil Service; coordinating Civil Service Pension Schemes and funds, organizing verification exercise for pensioners bi-annually; maintaining relations with Lagos State Pensions Commission (LASPEC) among others.

In the last one year, the CSPO has achieved a lot. Pensioner population in the main stream stands at 8512 as at April, 2017. The total sum of N1. 84 billion was paid as pensions from May 31, 2016 to 30th April, 2017. The office forwarded 185 Lagos State pensioners with federal shares complaints ranging from short payment of gratuity and arrears to stoppage of monthly pensions to the Director-General, Pensions Transition Arrangement Department (PTAD) office, Abuja. It also facilitated the reinstated payments of additional 15 pensioners that have just attained the Expected Date of Pension (EDOP), and adjustments in pension.

However, in two years, the CSPO achieved the payment of 3 years arrears of 142 per cent pension increase were paid in November, 2015 to pensioners who retired on or before April 2000. The increases of 6 per cent and 15 per cent on monthly pensions were also paid in January 2015 to those who retired on or before October, 2003 and January 1, 2007 respectively; N3. 87 billion was paid as pensions which varied monthly. In November 2015, CSPO facilitated and completed the payment of severance, pensions and gratuity to 73 disengaged staff of the defunct “Eko Today” which amounted to N37.17 billion among other achievements.

Another department, the Public Service Staff Development Centre (PSSDC) Office is the specialised capacity building institution of the State Government, established in 1994. The vision of the institution is to be the leading Public Service capacity building institution in Africa with a world-class reputation while its mission is to provide human capacity solutions through learning and development initiatives to public service stakeholders using technology-driven resources.

Similarly, the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) according to section 23 of the Lagos State Pension Reform Law of 19th March 2007 is to regulate, supervise and ensure the effective administration of pension matters in the Lagos State Public Service. The Law, which is fashioned after the Federal Law (PRA, 2004 now amended), came into effect in April of the same year and is a legal and regulatory framework for the operation of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

In the same vein, LASPEC in the last one year, there has been continued significant reduction in outstanding backlog of terminal entitlements of retired employees, State wide, backlog of terminal entitlements of retirees has been reduced within a 9 month period; has paid the sum of N11. 75 billion into the RSA of 2,886 retirees. 1,291 of the retirees were from the Local Government and SUBEB, 697 from TEPO, 887 from the Mainstream service and 11 from Parastatals. From August 2015 to March, 2017, the State Government through LASPEC had paid the sum of N25.809.560 billion into the RSA of 5,956 retirees i.e. 2,585 from the Local Government and SUBEB, 1,442 (TEPO), 1,618 (Mainstream) and 310 (Parastatals).

The bailout of Local Government / Parastatals pensioners continues unabated. The administration of Governor Ambode has not relented in the bailout of the Local Government & State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) retirees. The Governor magnanimously gave instructions for State government funds to be utilised to pay retirees from the Local governments. The Parastatals that have enjoyed pension bailout include Lagos State Water Corporation; Radio Lagos/Eko F.M; Lagos Television Authority; Lagos State Printing Corporation; Adeniran College of Education; Centre For Rural Development (CERUD); Lagos State Sport Council; Lagos State Agric Input and Supply; Lagos State Council for Arts & Culture; and Lagos State Agric Development Authority.

In essence, since the commencement of the Retirement Benefit Bond Certificate Presentation in 2010, on over 13,365 retirees, deceased and withdrawn staff has been paid accrued pension rights of about N59.82 billion. Furthermore, there have been regular deductions of 7.5 per cent from the salaries of staff and corresponding 7.5 per cent by the State Government into the Retirement Savings Accounts maintained by them with their appointed PFAs. As at March, 2017, these deductions have cumulatively risen to N78, 592 billion approximately since the inception of the scheme in 2007.

In total, Lagos State Government’s funding of employees’ pension rights under the Contributory Pension Scheme in a period of 10 years is approximately N138. 41 billion. This Administration commenced and has been able to maintain the trend of paying terminal entitlements of retired employees monthly since it started in August, 2015. The State Government through the Commission has also paid to named beneficiaries of deceased employees, insurance benefit worth the sum of N170 million. The insured death is by Law to be paid to named beneficiaries to alleviate the immediate needs of the family members of a deceased person. The Estate of a deceased staff is also entitled to receive the balance in the retirement account and accrued rights due, if the employee had joined service before the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). Also, LASPEC as one of the trail blazing agency of Lagos State Government has initiated and perfected electronic archiving of records of payments made to retirees of the State for preservation and protection of records in case of any unexpected eventualities among other achievements.

There is however no doubt whatsoever that the officers of the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions have laboured and toiled to achieve exceptional feats in the first two years of this administration. We are committed to doing even more because we appreciate that well-motivated and well-trained officers of the public service are best suited to conceive of workable government policies and to implement policies in ways that will translate into tangible benefits and dividends for the good people of Lagos State.

Dr. Benson is Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions