The Nigerian Union of Pensioners has said that the N54bn released by the Federal Government to cleared pension liabilities to the Contributory Pension Scheme was not enough to cleared pension arrears. The NUP President, Dr Abel Afolayan, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said that the NUP felt the compelling need to put the facts straight as the Federal Government indebtedness to the CPS was over N280bn. He said the release of N54bn could not be said to have cleared the backlog of pension liability, adding the Federal Government had consistently under-appropriated for the CPS over the past few years.
“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.
According to him, the year 2016 was worse as N91.9bn was required, but the budget office proposed only N50bn to the National Assembly, which also approved it, leaving a deficit of N41.9bn.
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.
He added that N31.3bn or mandate for seven and half months was never cash-backed and released.
According to him, the truth is that approval of payment is not the same as payment.
“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.”
According to him, does it mean that pensioners under this scheme have finally been condemned to a life of eternal hardship, sickness, and untimely death, President Muhammadu Buhari is not only a retiree but also a kind leader.
“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.
Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance had said in a statement that the Federal Government released the sum of N54 billion to clear liabilities to the CPS from 2014 till date.