The Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, has said that the administrative process required before funds can be realised to pensioners has been a major reason for the delay in prompt pension payments
She said this during a training programme for Union Executives and Pension Desk Officers of ministries, department and agencies of pensioners who retired under the Defined Benefit Scheme in Abuja on Tuesday
In May this year, The PUNCH reported that a group, Concerned PHCN Pensioners, staged a protest at the liaison office of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, over the non-payment of their gratuities and arrears while urging the federal government to intervene in the matter.
The leader of the group, Dunmoye Oladimeji, had lamented that since most of the retirees left service many years ago, there had been one form of deception or the other by the PTAD management in connection with the payment of their arrears and gratuities over the years.
The group also alleged that the PTAD had been giving false assurances to them for the payment of their arrears while at the same time short-changing the pensioners of the 42 per cent outstanding payment of gratuity and monthly pension for 22 years, which it said had since been funded by the Federal Government since the year 2016.
Dunmoye, on behalf of the group, also alleged that the PTAD was yet to pay the balance of 23.3 per cent of the 33 per cent pension rates increase from the National Salaries and Incomes and Wages Commission, which took effect in 2014.
In June this year, The PUNCH also reported that some retirees, under the Federal Civil Service Pensions, Lagos State branch, protested non-payment of pensions among other challenges encountered by federal retirees.
The retirees who staged a protest at the Lagos office of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, the agency in charge of payment of the Federal Government’s pensioners, called on the government to promptly respond to the plight of the retirees.
In a protest letter jointly signed by the Chairman, FCSP, Arashi Lawal, and State Secretary, Abiodun Micheal, the retirees said, “Since September 2017 verification exercise, countless number of pensioners are yet to be on PTAD payroll till present.”
The union complained that their monthly pensioners were not paid as of when due.
In response to this, the PTAD Executive Secretary said that the directorate was committed to paying pensions but there were a number of challenges that often lead to delay in payments.
“We pay our monthly pension regularly. In April 2019, there was a consequential adjustment to pensions, which attracted at the time it was approved a 24-month arrears. As at last year, we had finished paying all the 24-month arrears for all the operational departments except the civil service pension department. We only had the civil service pension department that we were owing three months arrears, which as at May now we had completed those payments. So, we are not owing arrears,” she said.