Group Urges FG to Address Disparity in Retirees’ Benefits

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Muhammadu Buhari

Ebere Nwoji

The Association of Retired Federal Senior Public Officers of Nigeria (ARFESPON), Lagos branch, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to address lingering problems affecting pensioners under Defined Benefit Pension Scheme.

They also urged the president to approve the payment of outstanding 20.4 per cent alleged illegal deduction effected on their benefits by a technical committee set up by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim, under former President, Goodluck Jonathan in 2010.

ARFESPON, also requested president Buhari to find final solution to what it described as anomaly of the disparity between pensioners’ payment and regular workers’ payments by ensuring that pensioners are on parity with serving officers.

The pensioners also demanded that the federal government should address the disparity in payment of pension benefits in such a way that a director in Federal Civil Service who retired many years ago would be at par with a Director who retired in recent time, in terms of benefit payment.

ARFESPON Chairman, Lagos Branch, Olufemi Odewabi, while speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, which was to highlight the challenges associated with Defined Benefit Pension system funded by government, however thanked government for clearing the outstanding 33 per cent increase owed by the Jonathan’s administration.

But, they appealed to government to commence payment of the illegal 20.4 per cent made by same administration.

According to him, in 2010 when the federal government under Jonathan effected 53.4 per cent increase on workers’ salaries, instead of effecting same increase in line with Section 173, Sub-section 3 of the Constitution, the Technical Committee set up by Secretary to the Government of the Federation made some technical deductions such as housing scheme, contributory pension scheme and tax.

According to him, the constitution and Federal Civil Service conditions did not approve the above deductions for pensioners.

On the parity issue Odewabi said: “We call on your government to get a final solution to this anomaly in the disparity between the pensioners payment and regular workers’ payment which simply is putting pensioners on parity with serving officers, which is a simple conversion of pension payment to that of serving officers’ salary scale,” Odewabi added.