New Pension Scheme: Kwara Stakeholders Hold Divergent Views

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By Steve Oni, Ilorin 
 
Stakeholders in Kwara state have expressed divergent views on the desirability or otherwise of the new Contributory Pension Scheme bill before the State House of Assembly.

They expressed their views while participating at a technical session organised by the State House of Assembly on the New Contributory Pension Scheme bill.

The Organised Labour Unions and Pensioners in the state expressed reservation on the proposed law, saying it would further impoverish workers in the state if passed into law. Rather, they wanted the state government to holistically address its insincerity in the implementations of the current pension scheme, indiscipline in the public sector and lip service being paid to pensioners’ wellbeing as well as apathy among workers and pensioners, adding that pensioners under the current arrangement were owed up to N12billion by the state government.

The State Head of Service, Hajia Zahra Omar, however, in her submission, enumerated the preparatory steps so far taken by the government to ensure that the state key into the new Pension Scheme, saying that the state government was committed to ensuring prompt payment of its monthly ten percent contribution to the scheme to further enhance the wellbeing of pensioners in the state.

She disclosed that only officers who have less than five years to spend in service would be exempted from the Scheme.

In his overview of the new Pension Scheme, the North Central Zonal head of the National Pension Commission, Dr. Babatunde Alayande who enumerated the benefits, the safety measures and circumstances necessitating the Scheme allayed the fears of workers in the State, adding that the proposed law would address all inadequacies in the old Pension Scheme.

Declaring the technical session open, the Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad, said the need to pass people oriented, practicable, sustainable good laws necessitated the technical session, in order to shed light on sundry issues, which according to him, were not clear to majority of Stakeholders and restated the commitment of the House to continue to enact laws for good governance and ensure spread of dividends of democracy.

  Dr. Ali Ahmad disclosed that a committee comprising all Stakeholders would soon visit States already implementing the Scheme, examine grey areas with a view to allowing the House comes up with law that would be acceptable by all and sundry.