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The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has set its sights on a pension rate increase of 20 to 28 percent for retirees under the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) in 2024. This initiative is part of a broader effort to align with the recent salary hikes for employees of government-funded agencies.

PenCom’s Director General, Aisha Dahir-Umar, has formally requested the Minister of Finance, Mr. Wale Edun, to approve the proposed pension rate adjustments. The commission’s push for higher pension rates comes on the heels of a significant federal government liability, which amounted to N314.58 billion in 2023 due to pension increases implemented in 2007, 2010, and the consequential adjustment in 2019 for retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

Dahir-Umar has raised concerns over the exclusion of CPS pensioners from the current and previous pension rate reviews, arguing that it constitutes a breach of their constitutional rights as outlined in Section 173 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. She contends that this oversight undermines the federal government’s pension reform efforts and could potentially increase the government’s indebtedness to CPS retirees.

The PenCom chief has also highlighted that past pension increases approved following public service salary reviews have not been applied to CPS retirees. She has urged the Tripartite Committee of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to address this discrepancy, which she deems contrary to both the Constitution and the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.

Dahir-Umar emphasizes that the right to pension increments should extend to CPS retirees, particularly concerning their Accrued Pension Rights. She has called for the necessary appropriations and release of funds to implement these increases, noting that while DBS retirees have benefited from past adjustments, CPS retirees have not.

The PenCom’s advocacy for pension rate increases reflects a commitment to ensuring the financial well-being of all retirees, amidst a landscape where salary increments for active public service employees have been prioritized. The commission continues to engage with government agencies and the National Assembly to fulfill its mandate and uphold the rights of pensioners under the CPS.

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