Pensioners, represented by the Association of Retired Federal Senior Public Officers of Nigeria (ARFESPON), have issued a call to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), urging the commencement of payments based on the new national minimum wage.
Mr. Olufemi Dewabi, the President of ARFESPON, made this appeal in Lagos, emphasizing the need for PTAD to implement the new wage structure approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Salaries and Wages Commission had formulated a table for the payment of the new national minimum wage for pensioners, a decision that received presidential approval.
Dewabi highlighted the frustration of pensioners whose outstanding entitlements have yet to be addressed, leading to a mounting backlog. He referenced a circular from the Salaries and Wages Commission, dated April 28, 2021, outlining the new wage structure for pensioners.
The ARFESPON President expressed concern that PTAD had overridden the approved table, causing disruptions in the government’s intended effort to improve the lives of pensioners. He questioned the supervising Minister/Ministry’s role in addressing PTAD’s actions, describing PTAD as operating as a parallel government, introducing its own wage structure that downgrades retirees from their genuine grade level to a lower salary grade level.
Dewabi pointed out that despite various groups highlighting these anomalies, there has been a lack of reaction or correction from the offices of the Head of Service and Secretary of the Federal Government. He deemed this inaction as compromising and endorsing PTAD’s poor attitude.
The statement also raised questions about the role of the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation in auditing the allocation and disbursement of funds for federal offices. Dewabi urged an investigation into the handling of deductions and funds collected during the period of shortchanging pensioners.
As of November 2023, pensioners claim to have been shortchanged for 55 and a half months, prompting calls for transparency and accountability in addressing these financial discrepancies.