James Emejo and Sonia Mayomi in Abuja
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Dr. Chioma Ejikeme, has said that the directorate has implemented measures aimed at ensuring that ineligible pensioners do not access any form of benefits going forward.
She also said that the directorate was able to cut its payroll by almost 18 per cent or about 50,000 ineligible pensioners following a major field verification exercise which took place between 2014 and 2019.
She added that over 20,000 eligible pensioners who were hitherto excluded from the payroll were enlisted through the exercise while 18, 046 pensioners comprising of ex-workers of defunct and privatised agencies who had hitherto not been considered for pension were also enrolled.
Ejikeme, said at the unveiling of the pilot phase of the “I Am Alive” confirmation project, that
312 war-affected police officers who were granted amnesty 2000 were paid their arrears and put on our payroll.
However, she said the “I am Alive” solution which is a web-based software designed to enable pensioners easily confirm their aliveness from the comfort of their homes or neighbourhood using either a smartphone or a computer system- was another innovation and game-changer in efforts to rid the pension system of ghost pensioners and all forms of corruption under the defined benefit scheme (DBS).
The PTAD boss said the directorate had decided to deploy the application in phases, starting with 50,000 pensioners cut across the four operational departments and the six geo-political zones, selected to participate in the pilot phase.
The solution takes the pensioner through a three-step confirmation process that ends with a text message response.
She said,”On the successful implementation of this pilot phase, we will deploy the application on a full scale at predetermined intervals on a continuous basis for all verified pensioners on the payroll.
Kindly be informed that pensioners who are part of this pilot phase have been notified by PTAD via SMS. Pensioners who did not receive the SMS, should kindly note that they are not part of the pilot phase, and would not be able to gain access to the platform to confirm their aliveness at this time.”
She added that all pensioners will be duly informed when the application is deployed on a full scale and is available for all pensioners adding that the solution was designed with pensioners’ utmost welfare in mind leveraging on accuracy, reliability, user friendliness and convenience.
She said,”We had promised that the era of bringing out our aged pensioners for field verification is over, and we stand by our promise.
“Be rest assured that nobody can tamper with your pension payment through the “I Am Alive” platform.
“If somebody with a smartphone or computer system in your neighbourhood helps you to confirm your aliveness, the person cannot steal your money.
“All we need is a confirmation that you are still alive so that we can continue to pay your pension.”