Unlike most retirees in other states, Katsina State retirees are among the few who receive their monthly pensions on time. They are, nevertheless, among the states with accumulated gratuities, as are many others. Unlike many other jurisdictions, however, the state administration is only dealing with a three-year backlog of underpaid gratuities, according to Mahabu Balarabe, chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.
“Our pensioners are paid regularly by the state government,” Mahabu stated in an interview with Vanguard. In reality, we are paid a day or two early than state employees. The pension payment system is set up in such a way that the payment of your pension begins the following month after you retire.
“The state government should examine the minimum pension since it has not been reviewed since the minimum wage was N18,000 and even now when it is N30,000.” Pensions are evaluated every five years or in conjunction with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews, whichever comes first, according to Section 173 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“Paucity of finances was responsible for the delay in the payment of gratuities,” the state Head of Civil Service, HoS, Idris Tune, stated, confirming the unpaid payments. However, arrangements are in the works to pay gratuities to individuals who retired between 2019 and 2020 as soon as possible, while others would be paid in due time during the Masari administration’s tenure.
According to the Masari-led government, it inherited from the previous administration of Ibrahim Shehu Shema, an N11 billion backlog in gratuities and pension debt. The state government was able to pay off the debt with nearly all of the CBN bailout monies it had requested. However, Tune stated that the state government will spend N3 billion to address the pending gratuity backlog from 2019 to 2021.
Also speaking on the introduction of the CPS, Tune ascribed the delay in the introduction of the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, to certain critical observations made by the National Pension Commission, PenCom, which required the state parliament to revise the draft law before the government would give its assent.
“Given the benefits and requirements of adopting the Contributory Pension Scheme, Katsina State will soon join other states of the federation that have progressed far in the implementation, leaving the old arena of pay-as-you-go, which is no longer sustainable and trendy,” he said.