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Pensioners laud new Trust Fund for vulnerable groups

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
09 June 2022   |   2:43 am
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has lauded the Federal Government for establishing a Trust Fund to cater for the health needs of vulnerable groups and pensioners.

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has lauded the Federal Government for establishing a Trust Fund to cater for the health needs of vulnerable groups and pensioners. 

NUP President, Godwin Abumisi, who stated this in Abuja, explained that the scheme will help prolong the lives of pensioners and vulnerable groups, who are poor to afford medical expenses.
He explained that the National Health Insurance Authority bill 2022 stipulates that the vulnerable group trust fund is money meant to pay for health care services of vulnerable groups where retirees fall under.
While urging the Federal Government to fast track the implementation of the Act for the benefit of the senior citizens of Nigeria, the NUP lauded the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), the National Health Insurance Scheme and all other stakeholders that contributed to the landmark achievement and ensuring that the provision of health insurance for vulnerable groups becomes a reality in Nigeria.

However, Abumisi lamented the plight and living conditions of state pensioners, who are suffering from non-payment of their entitlements by their respective state governors.
He saluted many state governors, who are prompt in paying monthly pensions to state pensioners. Abumisi stated that the majority of the state pensioners do not receive their gratuity for five to 10 years after retirement.
He added: “More worrisome, almost all the state governors choose not to review the monthly pension of their retirees as provided in section 173(3) and 210(3) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), where it says ‘pensions shall be reviewed after every five years or whenever workers’ salaries are reviewed, which even comes earlier.
“Over the years, the Federal Government had reviewed the pension of her retirees, comprising 62 per cent, 12 per cent, 15 per cent 33 per cent and the recent consequential adjustment on pension of 2019 as a result of the new national minimum wage. These reviews were meant to enhance the monthly earnings of pensioners. Unfortunately, many state pensioners’ monthly pension remained stagnant for many years, which has continued to impoverish and disadvantage them.”

He called on the state governors as a matter of national emergency to set up a committee with NUP state councils across the country to work out modalities on how state governors will liquidate all the outstanding entitlements that had accrued over the years.
The NUP chief also declared that pensioners and their families will only vote for aspirants that have a clear agenda for retirees in the 2023 general elections.
He said: “I wish to remind the presidential and gubernatorial aspirants that the pensioners are keenly and curiously watching the political terrain/space, as well as the ongoing campaigns by the various aspirants. Certainly, the pensioners shall pitch their tent with the presidential and gubernatorial aspirants, who are committed and more disposed to their cause and plight by massively casting their votes for them to secure their tomorrow.”
However, he listed Edo, Enugu, Oyo, Ogun, Kano, Yobe and Kwara as states that are paying pensions as and when due.
In the same vein, he accused Imo of deducting check-off dues from workers’ salaries but failed to remit the dues to the union.