Federal Government retirees, acting under the aegis of Interim Association of Contributory Pension Scheme Pensioners, have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to defend the credibility of the new scheme by making money available for payment of pension benefits.
The aggrieved pensioners said they had formed an interim association as a result of the neglect pensioners by the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), which will focused mainly on the old scheme, the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS).
In a statement made available to The Nation’s Pension Complaints and Solution section, the President of the association, Comrade M. A. Shittu, said the association is a group of federal pensioners who retired under the CPS 12 a year ago and are yet to receive any pension benefits.
He lamented that their situation was so bad and pitiful because government officials have not told them why they deserve this untold neglect and hardship after serving their father land meritoriously for several years before retirement.
He said his members were getting agitated over the delay and neglect.
He said: “Indeed, at the beginning of the CPS, things were working fine as a result of the payment of retirees’ benefits as at when due.
“But today, it appears that the cankerworm that plagued other lofty ideas and dreams in Nigeria in the past is gradually and steadily creeping into the fabric of the CPS.
“This is why this letter does not only represent a save our souls (SOS) but a clarion call on President Buhari and all stakeholders to come forward to defend the credibility of the scheme.
“This call is necessary and urgent because as at today, pensioners under the scheme who retired since November last year, exactly 12 months ago, are yet to be paid kobo either as gratuity or pension. We wonder if those who retired in 2015 are yet to collect their benefit what will happen to those who retired in 2016 and those retiring now?
“The perceived neglect of pensioners under the present CPS is possible because we are not adequately covered or not covered at all by the regular pensioners unions which have focused its interests and attention on its members who are largely from the old scheme.
“In Nigeria, experience has shown that once there is no union body to fight for you anything can happen to you and your benefits.”
He said it was in the light of this that his members are drawing the attention of the three unions they belonged to while in active service to come to their rescue before it is too late.
“This situation is so bad and painful because nobody, including PenCom, PFAs, insurance companies or government officials has told us why we deserve this untold neglect and hardship after serving our father land meritoriously for several years before retirement. This letter of appeal is urgent and necessary now with the hope of rescuing us and the new scheme,” Shittu said.
The group’s Secretary, Comrade S. A. Kolawole, recalled that the CPS was put in place by the Federal Government in response to the pay-as-you-go system, which had become a serious burden on the government due to its inability to pay pension and gratuity to pensioners promptly.
He noted that some of the reasons put forward by the government to justify its introduction was to stop the growth of outstanding pension liabilities; ensure that every person who works in either public or private sector receives his or her retirement benefits on time.
Others are to assist workers to save through the monthly contributions to cater for their old age; remove the burden of pension payment from government; and set up credible body to efficiently regulate, supervise and administer the scheme in a way to overcome the usual administrative bottleneck.
He urged the Federal Government to keep to keep its promise and pay pensions promptly.
Source : ThenationonlineThenationonline