Nigeria Labour Congress calls for restoration gratuities for public service retirees

By Femi Ogunshola
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has called for the restoration gratuities for public service retirees, saying it will provide immediate succour for them, pending the release of their pension.
The NLC said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a public hearing on two bills on the Pension Reform Act organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Pension.
Mr Uche Ekwe, Head, International Relation, NLC while presenting the union’s position on the two bills, said exempting some agencies from the contributory pension scheme would be unfair to those agencies that would remain.
According to him, the restoration of gratuity payment in public service is the only solution to the problems bedeviling the payment of of pension to retirees in Nigeria.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of administration, Sanusi Lemu, who represented the Inspector General of Police, said that the dream for an improved pension for the police has remained a mirage.
This according to him was in view of the problems being experienced by retired police officers.
He stated that the planned exit of the police from the contributory pension scheme was base on its negative impact on the morale of their personnel.
Mrs A’isha Dahiru, the Director General, Nigeria Pension Commission, faulted the call for the removal of the police from contributory pension scheme.
The DG stated that the poor pension being received by police personnel was as a result of their poor salary.
Mr Mahmud Ayinla, Founder, Contributory Pension and Happy Retirement Advocacy (COPEHRA), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), harped on the need for contributory pension.
“The devastating past story of the country’s pension industry cannot be compared with the ease, consistency and sustainability of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS),” he said.
He added that the former DBS was riddled with fraud, corruption and lack of transparency as government continually budgeted money without corresponding reduction in pension liabilities.
“The CPS has provided a platform to track contributions and savings via monthly, quarterly and yearly statements to the contributors and pensioners while the regulator (PenCom) carryout regular regulatory and compliance functions.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by Deputy House Leader, Peter Akpatason, said that the two bills would effect the needed intervention.
He said that critical intervention of the legislature in the pension reform bill would better the lives of retirees.
Rep. Kabiru Alhassan, Chairman, House Committee on Pension, explained that the inputs of the stakeholders would guide the house in improving the living conditions of senior citizens in the country.
He stated that the parliament would not feign ignorance of the stress and delay retirees experienced before access their benefits after serving the nation for years.
The first bill was a bill for an act to amend the pension reform act by providing that a pensioner shall receive at least 75 per cent of his retirement savings.
The second is a Bill for an Act to amend the pension reform Act 2014 to provide for exemption of the Nigeria Police Force from the contributory pension scheme and related matters.(NAN)

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