Federal Civil Service Pensioners (FCSP) have pleaded with President Bola Tinubu to release funds to Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to pay their pension entitlement arrears which have been unpaid for years.
The pensioners under the (old) defined benefits scheme said while their monthly pensions have been frequent since PTAD took over pension payment from Federal Civil Service, they are still challenged by unsettled arrears and lack of harmonisation, both twin problems national chairman of federal pensioners Sunday Omezi said cannot be blamed on Ejikeme.
The pension union urged the federal government to release funds to PTAD for pension arrears as there are files of its members both dead and alive lying down in PTAD which have not been cleared due to unavailability of funds
“We cannot blame it on Dr Ejikeme because we know she has played her part; it is the federal government that has not done what we are fighting for,” he said.
The pensioners who applauded President Tinubu for reappointing Dr Chioma Ejikeme as executive secretary of PTAD, expressed confidence in the Ejikeme-led PTAD to prioritise the payment of pension arrears to their members once the funds are released to her.
“We must say that the reappointment is a well-deserved one, in view of her track record in the administration of pension, culminating in the prompt payment of monthly pensions, payment of pension arrears, as well as landmark innovations that have eased the process of pension management, and the overall improvement of pensioners’ welfare,” Omezi said while addressing a press conference in Abuja in Friday.
Before PTAD took over from the Federal Civil Service, the pensioners used to assemble in Abuja for days to be verified by the authorities for payment of pensions, a situation that was changed by reforms of the pension watchdog.
“Under Ejikeme, you can stay in the comfort of your house and be verified through the I Am ALIVE verification platform.
So, there is no point going to queue at any designated place for verification,” he Omezi said, adding “We have also been having our monthly pension as and when due as far as PTAD is concerned.”
The union also called on the executive secretary to fasttrack the upward review of pension across the board for its members as it is a constitutional matter that provides for review every five years.
Meanwhile, PTAD said it has finalised the payment of the sum of N1,023,756,227.45 to 7, 091 pensioners of the Power and Transport sectors of the parastatals pension department, according to a statement that was issued by its media head, Olugbenga Ajayi
The payment represents 39 percent of the accrued pension arrears owed pensioners in the said Sectors for the period August 2015 to September 2023 as a result of the computation of the monthly pension of pensioners of PaPD based on their career details, salary structure and applicable pension increments.
The arrears were ascertained during the back-end computation exercise conducted by PTAD, where it was discovered that 7,091 pensioners in the Power and Transport Sector were being underpaid based on the Payroll inherited by PTAD.
According to Ejikeme, the back-end computation exercise was necessitated by the need to ensure that each pensioner earns their rightful pension for fairness, equity and justice, in line with the directorate’s mandate.
She further assured federal pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme that the federal government is committed to their welfare, and the arrears will continue to be paid until all accrued pension arrears are liquidated subject to the government funding.