The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) is calling for a review of the current pension scheme in the country in accordance with the constitution.
According to Dr Abel Afolayan, the National President of NUP, pension has not been reviewed by the government even when workers’ salaries were reviewed which is in disobedience to Section 173(3) and Section 210 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 15 of 2014 Pension Reform act (as amended).
“These sections stipulate that pension shall be reviewed after every five years or whenever workers’ salaries are reviewed,” he said.
Afolayan also lamented that the non-payment of the accrued right by the Federal Government may derail the contributory pension scheme.
Speaking in Abuja at a meeting with pensioners in the contributory pension scheme (CPS), said it was imperative that the pensioners were organised and unionised.
He said: “There is no doubt that since the inception of the scheme, there was no single case of fraud in the last 10 years of its existence and many pensioners have been able to access their retirement benefits as and when due. But I have observed that in recent times, especially since October 2015 to date, retirees under this scheme have not been able to access their retirement benefits as a result of the non-payment of the accrued right by the Federal Government through the retirement saving bond.”
Afolayan stressed that the near-absence of fraud in the CPS since it began in 2004; he said the non-payment of the saving bond by the Federal Government could derail the scheme.
Pointing out the inadequacies in the Pension Reform Act 2004, Afolayan identified abolition of gratuities which has now denied employees the opportunity of getting a lump sum when they retire.
He also added that the National Pension Commission and Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) were yet to specify how pensioners could benefit from returns on investment of their contributions, which has left pensioners the owners of the funds in hardship while PFAs are smiling to their banks.
Afolayan further said the NUP appeared before the joint committee on budget and appropriation at the National Assembly and submitted a memorandum requesting over N183 billion to fund the accrued right of retirees from 2015 to date as part of efforts to ensure that contributory pensioners entitlements are not denied.