Re­tirees lament FG’S re­fusal to re­view pen­sions

The Punch - - MONEY -

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s re­tirees un­der the De­fined Ben­e­fits Scheme have de­cried the non-re­view of their pen­sions as stip­u­lated by the law.

They said this in a protest let­ter ti­tled ‘Apathy and de­lay in re­view of pen­sion,’ which was ad­dressed to the Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion, and signed by the na­tional Sec­re­tary, nige­ria Union of Pen­sion­ers, and Fed­eral Civil Ser­vice Pen­sion­ers Branch, Mr Chris­tian Azunna.

The head of the Civil Ser­vice of the Fed­er­a­tion; the Chair­man, Salaries, In­come and Wages Com­mis­sion; and the Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary, Pen­sion Tran­si­tional Ar­range­ment Direc­torate, were also copied in the let­ter.

Part of the let­ter read, “We, the en­tire pen­sion­ers of the De­fined Ben­e­fits Scheme, feel con­strained to call the at­ten­tion of the gov­ern­ment to the ap­par­ent de­lay in the re­view of pen­sions, as it re­lates to this cat­e­gory.

“It is rather re­gret­table to note that the is­sue of pen­sion has per­sis­tently re­mained rel­e­gated, in spite of the promi­nence ac­corded it in the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Fed­eral Repub­lic of nige­ria, Sec­tion 173, sub­sec­tion (i)-(iv).”

In­struc­tively, it stated, the pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion stip­u­lated that pen­sion should be re­viewed ev­ery five years, with or with­out salary re­view.

“This im­plies that in the event of si­mul­ta­ne­ous re­view, the ne­go­ti­a­tion process, in­clud­ing the vari­a­tion, ought to be si­mul­ta­ne­ous as well.

“It there­fore be­comes ex­cru­ci­at­ingly painful that gov­ern­ment would rather de­cide to po­larise the process, as ev­i­denced in the ne­go­ti­a­tions and re­lease of the cir­cu­lar to the ef­fect thereof, in ut­ter dis­re­gard to the statutes,” it stated.

The union added that the seem­ing in­dif­fer­ence of the gov­ern­ment in this re­gard, doubtlessl­y re­sulted in the drag and frag­mented im­ple­men­ta­tion of the last in­crease of July 2010, which equally caused the pay­ment to drag for well over eight years, be­tween July 2010 and 2018.

“This is a clear ev­i­dence of apathy in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of pen­sion,” it stated.

The union stated that the con­sid­er­a­tion of the pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence as enun­ci­ated, had stirred up its ap­pre­hen­sion, hence, the de­ci­sion to re­mind the gov­ern­ment of the ugly trend, in or­der to avoid a rep­e­ti­tion, as well as save the re­tirees from fur­ther tor­ture.

It added, “It is there­fore in the light of the fore­go­ing that we are re­quest­ing gov­ern­ment to at­tend to this is­sue with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

“Let it be re-em­pha­sised that the ap­pre­hen­sion of pen­sion­ers across the fed­er­a­tion has been grow­ing steadily.

“It may also in­ter­est the gov­ern­ment to note that a lot of ef­forts have been made over the years by the lead­ers of the union to pacify the mem­bers, whose ag­i­ta­tion has in­creased pro­fusely that it is be­com­ing dif­fi­cult to con­tain within our lim­its.

“They have un­equiv­o­cally ex­pressed reser­va­tions over the seem­ing in­dif­fer­ence of the gov­ern­ment in the handling of pen­sions and their re­solve to voice out their frus­tra­tion in the strong­est terms, which may lead to ve­he­ment protest.”

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