In a bid to lessen the burden of pensioners especially during verification exercise, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has commenced an online verification exercise tagged ‘I AM ALIVE’ verification for Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) pensioners.
This was disclosed in a speech delivered to pensioners and other stakeholders by the Executive Secretary of PTAD Dr. Chioma Ejikeme at a press conference announcing the pilot take-off of the online verification exercise.
In her speech, she highlighted the strides and efforts of PTAD in ensuring that pensioners are paid as and when due. She also stressed the achievements of PTAD in weeding out ghost pensioners from the payroll of PTAD.
The speech also explained the procedures pensioners are to follow to carry out the ‘I AM ALIVE’ exercise.
Read the excerpts of the speech below:
“The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), at inception, embarked on massive verification exercises which took place between 2014 and 2019 across all the geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
“The field verification exercises cut across all the operational departments of the Directorate, namely: The Civil Service Pension Department, The Police Pension Department, The Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Department, and finally, The Parastatals Pension Department.
“The aim of the verification exercises was to ascertain the eligible pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme, enroll eligible pensioners who were hitherto not on the Directorate’s Payroll, while promptly removing the unqualified.
“The field verification was immensely successful and beneficial to the operations of PTAD resulting in a comprehensive and reliable database, which facilitates the process of budget preparation, accurate pension payments and the determination of outstanding pension liabilities.
“A major gain of the verification exercise was the reduction of the Directorate’s payroll by almost 18% equivalent to about Fifty thousand (50,000 pensioners) as a result of the removal of ineligible pensioners from the payroll.
“Furthermore, over Twenty Thousand (20,000) eligible pensioners who were hitherto not on the payroll were enrolled, Eighteen Thousand and Forty-Six (18,046) pensioners comprising of ex-workers of defunct and privatized agencies who had hitherto not been considered for pension were also enrolled. 312 War-Affected Police Officers granted amnesty in the year 2000 were paid their arrears and put on our payroll.
“You may recall that during the course of the last field verification exercise, I assured all and sundry that the field verification exercise conducted in November 2019 would be the last time PTAD will call out Pensioners for field verification. Subsequently, to sustain the integrity and reliability of the pension database, PTAD has developed a novel concept/initiative to sustain the gains of these verification exercises and to ease the process of future validation of pensioners on our payroll.
“At this juncture, I wish to officially announce the launch of the long-awaited “I Am Alive” confirmation project. The “I AM Alive” Confirmation Solution is a web-based software designed to enable our pensioners, to easily confirm their aliveness from the comfort of their homes or neighbourhood, using either a smartphone or a computer system.“
Commenting on the procedure to follow, the statement read thus:
“This solution takes the pensioner through a three-step confirmation process that ends with a text message response. The confirmation process consists of:
- Identification process
- Enter your pensioner’s number
- Enter your bank account number
- Take your photo (it will be validated with the existing picture in the PTAD database)
- Perform the aliveness validation by moving your face to follow the moving object on the screen.“
She further noted that the verification is in phases and will eventually cover everyone. The statement reads further:
“The Directorate has decided to deploy the application in phases, starting with Fifty Thousand (50,000) pensioners cut across the four operational departments and the six geo-political zones, selected to participate in this pilot phase.
“On the successful implementation of this pilot phase, we will deploy the application on a full scale at predetermined intervals on a continuous basis for all verified pensioners on the payroll. Kindly be informed that pensioners who are part of this pilot phase have been notified by PTAD via SMS. Pensioners who did not receive the SMS, should kindly note that they are not part of the pilot phase, and would not be able to gain access to the platform to confirm their aliveness at this time. All Pensioners will be duly informed when the application is deployed on a full scale and is available for all pensioners.“
In her closing remarks, she assured all pensioners of the safety of their information and the credibility of PTAD’s database. She advised all pensioners to be wary of fraudsters parading themselves as officials of PTAD and demanding money from them, noting that PTAD does not need their BVN, ATM Card details or ATM Card PIN for the confirmation exercise.
She promised that in the coming weeks, a massive sensitization and awareness campaign will be embarked upon by PTAD to sensitize pensioners and the general public.