Edo State Government organizes a three-day sensitization program for prospective retirees

Edo State Government organizes a three-day sensitization program for prospective retirees

The Edo State Government, with the help of the Edo State Pensions Bureau, has organised a three-day programme to enlighten prospective retirees.

The purpose of the event was to provide the State’s public employees who are set to retire between April and December 2022 with accurate information regarding the contributory pension plan.

Several stakeholders attended the event, which was hosted at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA) from July 6 to 8, 2022. This gave prospective retirees in the State a chance to learn more and get answers to important issues about retirement.

The program was planned in the interest of prospective retirees, said Mrs. Aikefe O. Aigbavboa, Permanent Secretary and Chairman of the Edo State Pension Bureau.

The purpose of bringing prospective retirees together for this sensitization programme, according to Agbavboa, is for them to learn firsthand details about the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and get informed about how they might approach their pension payment process after retirement.

Additionally, Aigbavboa dispelled myths about the CPS, which has been operating in the State since 2017.

She noted, “there are several rumors surrounding the scheme; rumors such as;  Government is not paying; civil servants would not receive their entitlement upon retirement; the process for payment would be stressful in this new scheme; retirees would not be entitled to their accrued rights before the adoption of the new scheme, and so many others.

“So we thought it wise to organize this sensitization event to not only debunk these rumors but also sensitize participants by providing them with the right information.”

The Permanent Secretary assured participants that the State Government had already started paying Accrued Rights for March retirees into their individual Retirement Savings Account (RSAs), allaying their concerns in the process.

According to Aigbavboa, the new programme enables employees to save money toward their eventual disengagement since they pay 8% of their monthly salary and the State Government matches that amount with a further 10%, for a total of 18%.

The event’s organiser, Mr. Adebola Bello from Pension Alliance Limited (PAL), also spoke at the gathering and stressed the importance of having access to accurate information for all prospective retirees.

According to Bello, “Since retirement is inevitable for workers both in the public and private sectors, getting the right information to the prospective retirees is very key.”

Bello added: “The previous scheme had too many issues; such as lack of transparency, no uniform parameter, irregular payment of contribution by some administrations resulting in insurmountable backlogs and arrears that were detrimental to these senior citizens whose survival most times is dependent on their retirement benefits”.

He maintained that the cumbersome payment process inherent in the previous scheme due to the analog documentation and verification process compromised its credibility which in turn led to frequent street protests by pensioners.

He therefore commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for implementing the CPS in the State.

The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Contributory Pension Transition and Head of Department of the Contributory Pension Scheme at the Edo State Pensions Bureau, Mr. Collins Idiahi, also reiterated that “the sensitization program would come in handy for intending retirees on the current pension scheme and enlighten them on how they can access their fund upon retirement.”

Idiahi added, “It could be recalled that the retirees between January and February 2022 were the first to benefit from the new Contributory Pension Scheme introduced by Edo State Government in January 2017; they also had a similar enlightenment program before their disengagement from the system. Those sets of retirees were the litmus test for the system and they affirmed that the process was stress-free and transparent”.

One of the participants at the event, Elder Comrade E.B. Odeh, the Principal of Idia College Senior Secondary School, expressed his delight at the enlightenment initiative by the State Government.

Odeh noted, “I would be due for retirement in October 2022. Before this time, most of us were apprehensive of the Scheme because of the rumors flying around, but today there have been a lot of clarifications and my fear for my retirement benefits have been allayed.

“From the information given today, I can say the scheme is worthwhile, it is not a scam as posited by rumors mongers and definitely not a ponzi scheme”. Odeh appealed that subsequent editions be held from time to time for other intending retirees.
Another participant Mrs. Obasuyi Veronica, commended the State Government’s efforts in carrying civil servants along in its policies and programs. Obasuyi noted, “I am glad to be here for the seminar because I know how to go about my retirement payment process now. The seminar was beneficial to me and to my other colleagues and I sincerely thank the organizers for this laudable initiative. This has given us a clear-cut vision of what lies ahead and the assurance that we would get our money as and when due.”

The Post Primary Education Board, the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC), the Edo State Board for Technical and Vocational Education, the Edo State House of Assembly, the Edo State Library Board, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Bendel Newspapers Corporation, and the Directorate of Government House & Protocols were among the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) represented at the event.

Additionally present were officials from Veritas Glanvills Pensions, ICO Insurance Limited, Heirs Insurance Ltd, Cornerstone Insurance PLC, Custodian Life Assurance Limited, ARM Pensions, and Pension Alliance Limited (PAL).

Prior to this, the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPSworkings )’s and advantages were mostly unknown to many civil and government employees.

Some people had misgivings and were wary of their individual pension fund administrators (PFAs). The three educational event, which included in-depth lectures on the workings and advantages of the CPS for prospective retirees, once again showed Governor Obaseki’s dedication to the wellbeing of state employees.

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