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Pensioners Bemoan Disparity in Pension Benefits, Accuses PTAD of Altering Payment Scale 

todayAugust 17, 2022

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Ebere Nwoji

Pensioners under the Defined Pension Benefit scheme have condemned what they called woeful disparity in payment of their monthly pension benefits allegedly instituted by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

The pensioners said the present payment scale used by PTAD for their monthly benefits falls far below what was contained in the table of consequential adjustment in pensions arising from the implementation of the National minimum wage.

The pensioners said the correct table was drawn by Wages and Salaries Commission and was attached to a previous circular dated April 28,2021, sent to their pensioners’ group by the Commission on approval of parity in pension benefit payment which they have been yearning for.

A group of pensioners under the Defined Pension Benefit Scheme, the Association of Retired Federal Senior Public Officers of Nigeria (ARFESPON) who made the complaint  in a memo they sent to the Chairman National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission,  Mr Ekpo Nta, alleged that contrary to the approval on their new benefit scale stipulated by the salary and wages commission, which has addressed the problem of disparity, PTAD came up with a table of its own bearing the same title as that of  the wages commission but with a most confusing content.

ARFESPON in the memo signed by its National President James Obong Bassey and General Secretary Olusoji Sobo stated, “When your circular SWC/S/04/.542/11/298 dated April 28,2021was received by us, we were very delighted and thanked God that  the long struggle by our association to achieve parity in the payment of pension to retired officers in the Defined Benefit Scheme irrespective of the scale of salary on which they retired has finally been approved by the federal government. We were happy that our long yearning of almost 20 years on pension parity struggle for pensioners that retired on similar circumstances of length of pensionable service, salary grade level and step has been met. However, our joy soon turned sour when we started receiving our new pensions in June 2021 and the amount being paid fell short of the amount indicated in your circular under reference.”

Calling for the intervention of the federal government, the pensioners’ group stated: “It is important sir that the due and proper pension that you and your committee worked so hard to have his excellency President Mohammed Buhari approved for pensioners for which the pensioners are most grateful should be implemented as approved to settle the issue of parity in pension payment across the board. PTAD should please be called to order in order not to frustrate this compassionate move by all of you sir, “the association stated.

When THISDAY contacted the President of Lagos State chapter of ARFESPON, Mr Femi Odewabi on the alleged distortions on the scale of payment of the pensioners benefits by PTAD, he said: ”Usually the salaries and wages commission arranges the salaries of every public staff that were in public service and it comes in circulars so when the money was about to be paid salaries and wages commission presented their table which was approved by the president now this table was eventually given to PTAD to implement we don’t know what went wrong somewhere.

“Somehow, PTAD made another table. It is with that that they used to underpay and shortchanged our people. For instance, one of us retired as assistant director at grade level 15 and from all indications he should be transferred to a level 16 on the scale that wages and salary commission made but he was paid on level 13 on the Ptad scale so he was shortchanged. What led to this I don’t know. We were asking questions their oga in PTAD said those people that retired by June 2007 will enjoy the new scheme but those who retired before 2007 will be short-changed.”

Odewabi, lamented that this has been a problem which members of the association and other pensioners under Define Benefit Scheme have been fighting against for a very long time.

“Assuming my eyesight are good I have lot of documents showing when we have started and how we have been complaining about this, do you know that some directors are earning less than 30,000, ”he lamented.

However, in a swift reaction, the Head Corporate Communication at PTAD, Mr Gbenga Ajayi said the agency did not tamper with the scale provided by Salaries and Wages Commission in payment of pensioners’ benefits.

“Following the approval for the implementation of the consequential adjustment to the pension benefits occasioned by the new minimum wage of 2019, PTAD commenced payment in May 2021 and has completely paid off the arrears from April 2019 to April 2021 to all the operational departments in the Directorate”.

“Based on the circular received from the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission, you can see that percentage of the monthly pension of pensioners was used to generate absolute figures for each Grade Level.  Example: the Highest pension for someone who retired on GL 01 is N14, 733.44.

The approved percentage increase for someone who earns N14,733 and below is 59 per cent.  59 per cent of N14,733.44 is N8,692.73. If you add the two figures, you get N23, 426.17.

“Now, remember that some state pensioners with federal share earn less than N14,733.44, some earn less than N1,000 naira. Therefore, their new pension will not be up to N23, 426.17. However, with the consequential adjustment, no pensioner, even the state Pensioners with federal share, earns less than N8,692.73. PTAD did not, and has no right to go contrary to any directive from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, ”Ajayi stated.

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