The National Pension Commission yesterday disclosed that the federal government has approved the release of N34 billion to offset the outstanding accrued rights of retirees and death benefits of deceased employees of the federal government under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
The approval, according to PENCOM in a statement signed by head communication unit, Emeka Onura, followed the recommendation of the co-coordinating minister for the Economy and minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, on the submission made by the commission to the federal government on the status of the account and the huge deficit therein.
“The federal government has consistently and religiously been setting aside 5 per cent of its total monthly wage bill into the Retirement Bond Redemption Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria for the settlement of the accrued pension rights of its employees since the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme as required by the Pension Reform Act, 2004,” PENCOM stated, adding that “the account has been overstretched in recent years with the upsurge of retirements from the federal civil service occasioned by the tenure policy, voluntary retirements and thousands of unredeemed death benefit claims resulting into heavy backlog of arrears that cannot be accommodated due to paucity of funds in the account, giving rise to untold hardship for these people”.
The commission noted that the special positive intervention by President Goodluck Jonathan, therefore, would go a long way in settling those outstanding payments to those categories of beneficiaries and alleviating their sufferings and urged the affected individuals to contact their PFAs for the payment of their benefits.
The commission acknowledged what it described as the “president’s magnanimity and deep sympathy to the plight of the retirees and next-of-kin of deceased employees of the federal government as glaringly manifested by promptly and graciously granting approval for this amount to be released to settle those arrears”.