By Joseph INOKOTONG
The Federal Government has released N41.5 billion to the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), for onward payment to retirees.
With this, it has cleared the inherited arrears of accrued pension benefit for the year 2014, 2015 and 2016, due to mounting concern about the plight of pensioners who retired under the Contributory Pension Scheme without being paid.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun who disclosed this also announced that the sum of N12.5 billion being outstanding for January, February and March 2017 has been settled based on 2016 appropriation, bringing the tally to over N54 billion.
A statement signed by the Director (Information), Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta quoted the minister as saying “Despite conflicting demands for available cash, President Muhammadu Buhari has always expressed concern about the plight of workers and pensioners. Consistent with this, we have released N41.5 billion which clears the arrears inherited from the previous administration relating to the period 2013-15 and underpayments in 2016. This will bring relief to thousands of our elders who have served and deserve to be paid their entitlements promptly and fully.”
The N41, 566, 565, 184 released to PENCOM was the outstanding appropriated for the year 2014 and 2016 by the National Assembly for the settlement of the retirement benefits of Federal Government employees.
She explained further that “the amount we paid includes arrears and the impact is that those who retired as far back as 2013, who had been unable to access pension under the contributory scheme due to non payment, will now be paid.”
To avoid future accumulation of pension arrears, Mrs. Adeosun assured that henceforth “the monthly allocation to the PENCOM based on the appropriation of 2017 will regularly be paid along with monthly salaries of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”
FG Clears N54Bn Pension Backlog
By Joseph INOKOTONG