Pensioners under the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD)
Sir: I would like to bring to the notice of Nigerians the plight of federal pensioners of the old defined benefits scheme under the management of PTAD. The latter is the body that took over the management of pension funds of ministries and parastatals and which has apparently bitten off more than it can chew. Some parastatals that PTAD took over, particularly educational parastatals and legal institutions had their own pension fund administrators which were effectively administering their respective pension funds before they were taken over and merged under PTAD. There were rarely cases of delayed pension, they were humane and treated their pensioners with fear and honesty. Pensioners were treated as human beings and not objects.
Unfortunately, now that all institutions are lumped together under PTAD, federal pensioners are no longer paid as and when due and are owed pensions for two months and atimes three months. As at December 18, most pensioners have not been paid their November pensions let alone December pension for Christmas. PTAD should realise that contrary to popular opinion, most pensioners did not steal money whilst in service and did not stash away money in overseas accounts and thus rely heavily on their pensions. Let pensioners be paid their November and December pensions now, so that they can have a decent Christmas and New Year celebration.
An important prayer of federal pensioners, particularly those of educational and legal institutions that had viable and well managed Pension administrators, is that the Federal Government remove them from PTAD and return them to their former institutional pension fund administrators.
Finally, pensioners are men and women who spent their youthful years working for their country and contributing their own quota to nation building. Retirement after years of meritorious service should be a thing of joy. That is why the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, Section 173(1-4) unambiguously protects pensioners so that they do not lack. The Constitution states that the benefits and pensions to which a person is entitled to shall not be withheld or altered to his disadvantage except to such extent as is permissible under any law; and that pensions in respect of service of the Federation shall not be taxed; also that pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any federal civil service salary reviews whichever is earlier. Furthermore, the Constitution states that the right of a person in the public service of the federation to receive pension or gratuity shall be regulated by law. Based on this constitutional authority, Section 2 of the Pensions Act, 2004 made pensions a charge on the Consolidated Fund of the Federation. This means that pensions have priority over other expenditure not so charged.
Victoria Etim, Abuja, FCT
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