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Retirees and some stakeholders covered under the Contributory Pension Scheme have demanded payment of their pensions and other rights as soon as they leave the public sector.

The retirees and other stakeholders said such payments would help to lessen their burden and also keep them active for additional years until death in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in the zone on Sunday.

According to Owoka, retirees will undoubtedly prefer a total and final lump sum payout of their pension benefits over the monthly payments currently popular in both the Defined Pension Scheme (DPS) and Contributory Pension Scheme.

According to him,

“There are instances where the employer fails to remit the monthly contributions of both the employer and the employee and when complaints are lodged, the PFA complains of non-remittance by the government either due to inadequate budgetary provisions or late release of funds.

“This equally affects the monthly payments, but if this money is invested by the retiree himself, he will be in charge of his investment.

“Another very important consideration is the compulsion by the government that individual funds should be managed by another on his behalf consequently, presenting him as unfit to manage his funds.

“This is done regardless of his objection to the unilateral decision, this is socialism in a Capitalist economy,” 

The Pension Reform Act of 2004 was referred to as “a great piece of legislation” by another attorney, Mr. Femi Edema.

Edema stated: “Our senior citizens who had worked for our nation would be better for it if our government could implement the relevant sections of the Act with sincerity of intent.

”The level of compliance, however, needs substantial improvement. No civilized country can allow its pensioners to suffer,” he said.

In certain cases, pensioners passed away before receiving their money. Some others waited in vain and were never reimbursed.

They ought to be compensated right away, Edema noted.

A retiree from the Federal Ministry of Information in Osogbo, Mr. Peter Adejuwon, told NAN in Osogbo that retirees had made multiple calls on the necessity of timely payment of their pensions immediately following retirement.

The level of compliance with the Pension Reform Act, 2004, as revised, according to Adejuwon, had not produced the desired effects.

He claimed that because pensions and gratuities are frequently paid years after they are due, many retirees have died as a result.

“When you retired from active service, they delay you for a year or two and some for years before they pay them their entitlements.

“Many among us have died, while some of us need this money for drugs to keep us alive,” he said.

However, the Kwara NUP Chairman said that across the nation, state-by-state compliance with the Pension Reform Act varied.

He continued by noting that pensioners needed their money as soon as they retire and that this was only achievable with God’s assistance and the political will of the government.

Oladimeji reminded those in charge that they share a part in the problems associated with adhering to the 2004 Reform Act.

He said that they were still working on it but there had been no progress in the past three years, during which the union had pushed for an increase in the minimum pension for pensioners.

Oladimeji appealed to Nigerians still active in service to support them in their quests for implementation of the 2004 Reform Act, saying “whoever refuses and works against the union will soon face what we are facing”.

Source: NAN

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