The Cross River State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) clarified its stance on the proposed contributory pension scheme by the state government, emphasizing that they are not inherently opposed to the concept but seek proper engagement and understanding of its details.
Mr. Lawrence Achuta, the State Vice Chairman of the NLC, conveyed this clarification to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar. He highlighted that Governor Bassey Otu had mentioned the need for approximately N24 billion to clear the backlog of gratuities and pensions for retired civil servants during the celebration of his 100 days in office.
According to Achuta, the governor proposed the contributory pension scheme in collaboration with financial institutions, but workers expressed reservations about the idea. He urged the government to engage with workers before introducing the scheme, emphasizing the necessity of understanding its processes, conditions, and benefits.
Achuta explained that the workers did not outrightly reject the scheme but raised concerns that need resolution and understanding. He emphasized the importance of comprehensive orientation for workers regarding the concept, the supporting laws, and its overall implications.
The State Vice Chairman of the NLC expressed concern about the general handling of contributory pension schemes in Nigeria, citing issues such as deductions from salaries without corresponding availability of funds at retirement. He also mentioned the “right of accrual” for workers who have served for a certain number of years before migrating to the contributory pension scheme.
Achuta reiterated the NLC’s position that the state should not hastily implement a contributory pension scheme without addressing all its components and ensuring that workers are fully oriented.
In response, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang, the Rivers Commissioner for Information, affirmed that the state government had not abandoned the planned contributory pension scheme. Ekpang assured that the state was working on modalities to ensure the effective implementation of the scheme, emphasizing that the program was still in progress.