By Ebere Nwoji
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) said it has in the past 10months enrolled 24,000 newly verified pensioners into its pay roll.
PTAD’s Executive Secretary, Sharon Ikeazor, said this while speaking at the South-west stakeholders’ forum held in Lagos recently.
He said these pensioners emerged after the completion of the Civil Service verification exercise which brought in over 19,000 new pensioners, who had hitherto been denied their rights to pension under the Defined Benefit Scheme.
She said in addition to this, the directorate hadalso successfully verified, computed and put on payroll nearly 5,000 pensioners of defunct/privatised agencies such as Delta Steel Company (DSC), Aladja, Federal Housing Authority of Nigeria (FHA), Nigeria Reinsurance, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) .
Ikeazor, also disclosed that pensioners of NICON insurance would commence receiving monthly pension this month, adding that work on the enrolment of NITEL pensioners hadreached advanced stages.
“This singular achievement has lifted many families out of miseries that lasted for up to 13 years in some instances. The verification of other agencies under same category will be done alongside that of other parastatals beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018,” she stated.
Ikeazor, however said in line with achievingits objective of ensuring regular payment of monthly entitlements to pensioners under the Defined Benefit scheme, PTAD met some drawbacks such as lack of adequate resources to settle the legacy liabilities inherited from the old order as well as to meet its capital expenditure.
PTAD, she also said is faced with thereocurring problem of presentation of enrolment of orders granted by customary courts in lieu of letters of administration.
According to her, this constitutes a draw back because under the extant laws, these documents can’t be substituted.
“Enrolment orders and similar documents issued by customary courts and such other courts of coordinate jurisdictions are not acceptable by the directorate for the payment of death benefits to next of kin,” she said.
Unfortunately, this practice is prevalent and has caused unnecessary delay in computing and payment of benefits to next of kins.
“We intend to take this forum to each of the six geopolitical zones. The purpose of the stakeholders’ forum series is to provide updates on the activities of PTAD and interact directly with its pensioners in order to obtain objective feedbacks from them in an interpersonal manner,” explained the PTAD boss.
She said since the first forum in October 2017, the Directorate has recorded many milestone achievements based on the positive feedbacks it got from pensioners and other stakeholders.
“The successes attained over this period, and indeed during the past two years, couldn’t have been possible without the visionary and dynamic leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. I am glad of the unique opportunity the President has given to me to implement his policy of ensuring that the Labour of our Heroes Past Shall Never be in vain”.
Highlighting some of the achievements recorded by the Directorate, Ikeazor, said principal amongst these achievements was ensuring the prompt payment of monthly pension to all genuine pensioners.