Civil servants have passed a vote of no confidence in the current pension scheme. The scheme which came into running a decade ago has been castigated and described as a failure.
Speaking to NAN, retirees in different states of the federation said the solutions which the system was touted to be able to bring are false. Rather, it has made retirement hard and also engenders corruption and shortcuts as the retirees don’t trust the system to take care of them when it is time to have their emoluments given to them.
Retired civil servants in some states have called for a reversal to the old pension system, saying that the impression created about the advantages of the new scheme introduced 10 years ago, is misleading.
The retirees asked that they be given their money in bulk as this would allow them make sustainable and profit-making investments and not have to wait for the trickle that they get in the new pension scheme.
Added to these, the payments are irregular and not timely as promised. The scheme was condemned as pension managers are alleged to unilaterally decide on how and what to pay individuals.
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.
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 just a token monthly and this is usually barely enough to take care of the retiree and his family.
“You work for a period of time and upon retirement, someone is there deciding for you how you go about spending your own money. To me, the idea looks too selfish,” a respondent 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 administration (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.
Reaction By Pension Managers
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.
The remaining sum will be spread and paid as monthly entitlement.
He attributed the delay in the settlement of the entitlements of retirees, to failure on the part of the government to contribute its share to enable the computation of entitlements of beneficiaries.