Pension scheme: Civil servants demand old pension system

pension

Retired civil servants in some states have called for reversal to the old pension system, saying that the impression created about the advantages of the new pension scheme introduced 10 years ago, is misleading.

Some of them said payment of pension and gratuities was not as timely as promised before the introduction of the new pension scheme.

The civil servants spoke to NAN in a survey over the plight of the pensioners since the advent of the new contributory scheme was introduced by the Federal Government.

Malam Abdulrahman Sadiq, civil servant in Bauchi who retired nine months ago, said he had yet to receive his gratuity and pension contrary to expectations.

He said he had been living from hand to mouth as he had no means of sustaining himself because he had been a civil servant all his life .

Mr Dauda Aminu, another pensioner in Bauchi, said that the old scheme of paying pension and gratuity for retirees, was better, as it enabled a retiree to determine what to do with his or her complete entitlement.

He said that the Pension Fund Administrators paid token as monthly pension, which was not enough to sustain a retiree and his family.

Also contributing, Mr Joseph Abdu, another retired civil servant, also condemned the new pension scheme, explaining that most times, pension managers decided on how and what to pay individuals, often without considering the interest of the retirees.

He said that such money should be given in bulk to the retirees, to enable them plan their future by deciding on investments to embark on.

“You work for a period of time and upon retirement, someone is there deciding for you how you go about spending you own money. To me, the idea looks too selfish,” he said.

Another retiree in jigawa, who served with the Federal Government, Malam Usman Abubakar, described the contributory pension scheme as a ‘fraud’.

He told NAN in Dutse that under the new dispensation, employers and employees were expected to contribute some amount monthly.
“Unfortunately after retirement, the retiree goes home with only a portion of his contributions.

“Your pension fund administrator (PFA) will tell you that the remaining part of the money will be kept for you to be servicing your monthly pension, while the rest will be invested in a business that no one knows,” he said.

He described such an arrangement as being grossly unfair and unfavourable to retirees, calling on the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, to revert to the previous arrangement.

In Yola, Federal Civil Service retirees are also calling for a review of the 2004 Pension Act to address some grey areas.

Mr Abraham Galadima, a former Director in the Federal Ministry of Education, complained that the old pension system was far better in terms of monthly pension entitlements.

“The new pension scheme has no human face; there is no reason why I should not be allowed to decide what to do with my money.

“I spent 35 years serving my country and at the end, I do not have complete access to my accumulated pension savings ,” Galadima said.

Malam Umar Gabdo, another pensioner, said that the new pension law did not take into cognizance,the ‘Rights’ of the retirees .

“I prefer the old pension system because benefits are paid completely, in spite of the delays in payment,” Gabdo said.

He, therefore, called on the authorities concerned, to review the Act to enable retirees have complete control over their benefits.

Mr Abubakar Bamanga, a Federal pensioner said he retired in 2011 and it took six months before he received his first pension allowances.

Also recounting his ordeal, Rev. Amos Ali, who retired in 2014, said that he stayed for almost 11 months after his retirement before his Pension administrators started releasing his pension benefit.

Mr Dauda Mains, Adamawa Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC), called on the Federal and state governments to review the activity of those handling the pensions matters to enable the retirees get their retirement benefits within a stipulated time.

The Business Manager of Premium Pension Limited in charge of Jigawa, Alhaji Usman Raji , however, said that the new scheme had a lot of advantages for a retired civil servant.

According to him, one of the key advantages is that even if someone is dismissed from the service, his employee cannot deny him the money that has accumulated in his name.

A staff of one of the Pension Fund Administrators in Bauchi who pleaded for anonymity, told NAN that under the new pension scheme arrangement, a retiree ought to receive his entitlements within 90 days after retirement.

He said that 50 percent of the lump sum was to be given to those above 60 years and 25 per cent to those who retired below 60.

According to him, the remaining sum will be spread and paid as monthly pension entitlement.

He attributed the delay in the settlement of the entitlements of retirees, to failure on the part of government to contribute its share to enable the computation of entitlements of beneficiaries.