The Executive Secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate’s (PTAD), Dr Chioma Ejikeme has said that the Directorate paid over 96Billion Naira across all Operational Departments, while over N77billion was paid as monthly pensions payments to 244,643 pensioners as at July 2020, 87,842 pensioners were paid arrears and gratuities of over N19billion and over 670 million was paid to 418 Next of Kins of deceased pensioners.
She disclosed this at the Press Conference in the Directorate Headquarter in Abuja on Wednesday, she said within a period of one year, Covid-19 notwithstanding, PTAD has been able to bring smiles to the faces of its pensioners and Noks, while sustained and initiated reforms that have strengthened the administration of the Defined Benefit Scheme in Nigeria.
According to Dr Ejikeme, “Across the departments, we have been able to achieve the following: The regular payment of monthly pension benefits to our Pensioners across the four Operational Departments which has contributed immensely to the welfare of our Pensioners/their families and to alleviating their sufferings.
“Continuous complaint resolution which has considerably reduced complaints from pensioners and has revived public trust in Government’s ability to professionally administer. Between July 2019 and August 2020, PTAD paid a total of over 96Billion Naira across all the Operational Departments. The sum of over N77billion was paid as monthly pensions payments to 244,643 pensioners as at July 2020.
“87, 842 pensioners were paid arrears and gratuities of over N19billion. The sum of over 670 million was paid to 418 Next of Kins of deceased pensioners. The above payments include the balance of 33% arrears for the Parastatal Pensioners which had been outstanding since 2010 and was fully paid to the Pensioners and NoKs in November/December 2019”, she said.
She stated that the successful conclusion of the Nation-wide Parastatals pensioners’ Verification Exercise in November 2019 and mop up exercise through the In-House verification for those that missed the field exercise, a total of 21,227 pensioners on the payroll were found to have not been verified.
“PTAD has sent the list of these pensioners to the Pension Unions/Associations/Agencies and the information is also on the PTAD website to enable pensioners who are on the list and alive to make themselves available for verification. Deceased pensioners and unresponsive pensioners on the list will be removed from the payroll from October 2020”, she said.
She recalled that in 2019, PTAD collaborated with Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) on Bank Verification Number (BVN) Authentication. “The NIBSS BVN validation exercise led to the suspension of 5,834 pensioners from the payroll. However, 2,416 of those removed have been restored after undergoing positive review and validation.
“There has been continuous expansion of Information Technology infrastructure for effective service delivery in all our state offices to make the Directorate more accessible to Pensioners. Strong anti-corruption message that comes directly from the Executive Management on the critical importance of accountability and integrity in PTAD operations.
“Also, PTAD embarks on a serious anti-fraud fight against pension scammers to protect the pensioners. An appropriate business continuity programme is being implemented to manage unforeseen risk/losses that could occur as a result of IT equipment damage from natural disasters, human error, hacking, system failure, cybercrime etc”, she said.
She noted that PTAD received positive recognitions from Civil Society Organisations such as the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), BudgeIT, Connected Development (CODE), Right to Know (R2K), Basic Right Watch (BRW) and Media Right Agenda (MRA) on PTAD’s efforts in promoting government accountability and transparency.
“PTAD has been working assiduously on the recovery of legacy funds and assets in the custody of 12 Insurance Underwriters belonging to the defunct Agencies. They were previously responsible for the pension payments to Federal Government Parastatals and the universities.
She further said that out of the 12 Insurance Underwriters identified by the Directorate who are in custody of legacy funds and assets, the Directorate has filed an action under the undefended list procedure for the recovery of legacy funds and assets against Four Insurance Underwriters namely: Goldlink Insurance Plc, Unic Insurance Plc, Standard Alliance Life Insurance Plc and Niger Insurance Plc.
“Two out of the Four cases have been decided in favour of the Directorate as follows – The Federal High Court, Lagos gave judgment in the case against Goldlink Insurance PLC in favour of PTAD to the tune of N1,238,234,383.96 being the outstanding balance of the Federal Government Legacy Funds and Assets in the custody of the Defendant with 10% post judgment interest until the judgment sum is fully liquidated.
“On the 2nd day of April 2019, the Federal High Court, Lagos entered judgement in favour of the Directorate in the sum of N829, 788, 380.19 (Eight Hundred and Twenty – Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty- Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Naira, Nineteen Kobo) being outstanding balance of the Federal Government Legacy Funds and Assets in the custody of Unic Insurance company”.