N54bn released for pension arrears not enough – Pensioners

The Nigerian Union of Pensioners has said the N54bn released by the Federal Government for payment of pensions was not enough to offset pension arrears.

NUP President, Dr Abel Afolayan said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

Afolayan said the Federal Government owes pensioners over N280bn.

He said, “NUP has it on verified record that whereas the sum N93bn was needed to service Federal Government’s statutory obligations to the CPS in 2014, only N30.6bn was approved, resulting in N62.4bn deficit.

“Whereas N98.7bn was needed for the year 2015, the budget office only proposed the sum of N60.2bn to the National Assembly that alone was a shortfall of N38.5bn.”

He added that N91.9bn was required to pay arrears in 2016 but the budget office proposed only N50bn to the National Assembly.

He said that of the N50bn approved in the 2016 budget, only the sum N18.8bn or mandates for four months was released and cash-backed.

“It will be good for the minister to tell us when the fund was transferred to the National Pension Commission, and when it will hit pensioners’ accounts.

“Importantly, we are saddened that the Federal Government is claiming to have cleared pension arrears when the Minister did not say a word regarding the over N174bn owed pensioners who retired under the Defined Benefit Scheme.”

“NUP recalls that he bent backwards to release bailout to State governments, which could not pay salaries.

“We call on the President to also extend the same kindness to the federal pensioners among us, whose pension benefits are his primary responsibility.

“ There is no doubt that the way retirees are treated would decide whether those in service and the younger generation would cue behind government’s anti-graft war or engage in looting to prepare for life after service,” he said.

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