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Efficient pension payment system panacea to corruption in govt— —PTAD

One of the sure ways of reducing corruption in the Nigerian governance system is the institutionalization of functional and effective pension administration. And this was one of the major submissions of the authorities of the Pension Transition Arrangement Department (PTAD).

Executive Secretary of PTAD Dr Chiome  Ejikeme who made the observation in Lagos at a retreat organized for newsmen noted that the assurances that a worker at the state or federal government level  will be guaranteed  of  a meaningful and self sustaining post retirement life was certain not to engage in corrupt activities while in service.

According to her, it is the fear of living a probable life of penury while in retirement as the result of none functional and equitable retirement benefits that majorly propels government workers into indulging in corrupt practices under the unqualified logic of trying to amass wealth ahead of retirement.

It was against this backdrop that she revealed efforts by PTAD towards ensuring the institutionalization of a more robust and functional pension administrative structures capable of ensuring the timely and equitable payment of the pensions of workers of the federal government and all its ministries, departments and agencies.

Mrs Ejikeme who was represented at the event by the Director of PTAD in charge of Parastatals Department Mr Kabiru Yusuf said the Pension Transition Arrangement Department has succeeded in establishing a credible data base which ensures the effective and efficient payment of pensions of retirees who served the federal government during the era of defined pension system.

According to her, PTAD successfully conducted a verification exercise which ended in 2017 with the view to establishing those who are eligible to receiving pensions under its jurisdiction.

“”PTAD visited every state. The data base is the basis for effective pension administration as per planning and budgeting. We cleaned up the pay roll after putting it under scrutiny just to ensure that anybody uploaded was verified dead persons were removed. Corruption in government will be reduced with effective pension administrative system. People will be discouraged from stealing if they know that they will have a post retirement pension payment system where their pensions would be guaranteed”, he emphasized.

Executive Secretary revealed that PTAD is perhaps the only pension management agency in the country to have concluded payment of pensions under the consequentional adjustment system whereby the pensions have been readjusted as to accommodate the recent increase in minimum wage as negotiated by labour unions. The agencies are departments under the care of PTAD include Customs and Immigration, Prisons as well as Police.

It would be recalled that PTAD was established by the Federal Government in August 2013 in compliance with the provisions of the repealed Pension Reform Act of 2004. Its establishment was necessitated by the need to reform the old pension offices which operated under the defined benefits scheme. Prior to 2004, all government pensions were paid under a defined benefit scheme which was underfunded and poorly managed. PTAD is currently attending to the retirement needs of federal government workers who retired on or before July 30, 2007.

Mrs Ejukeme explained that the efficiency of PTAD has resulted in the timely payment of pensioner to the extent that billions of naira has been saved by cubing fraud in the system which arose through the payment of ghost pensioners.

According to her, efforts are on going to engage the forensic unit of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the verification of documents by retirees in an effort to check against fraud in pension administration.

“PTAD is working towards presenting suggestions to government on how to harmonize pension payments as to favour those who retired on a lower salary structure”, she further revealed.

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