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Minister of State approves N408m retirement benefit for 104 officer

Sep, 2021 | By Felix Durumbah and Nandir Wuyep | ||

More joy is coming the way of pensioners as Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has approved a princely sum of N408 million for them. The amount is for payment to 104 officers retiring or already retired from the Area Councils and Local Education Authorities (LEAs) of the Territory.

It covers retirement benefit in form of Accrued Right, death benefit, employer gratuity as well as retirement planning fees for those who retired, set to retire, or died in service up to August 31, 2021. Disclosing these to Abuja Digest Weekly, Director, FCT Area Council Staff Pension Board (ACSPB), Dr. Nanzing Nden, stressed that the payment underlined FCT Administration policy of zero indebtedness to pensioners---a stance which has brought much national acclaim to the Administration from regulatory bodies, other states and the public.

His words: '' The payment is in line with our plans to ensure that we do not owe retiring officers' Accrued Right benefit.'' According to him, as soon as the board completes paying the beneficiaries, '' we intend to pay those who are retiring for the whole of 2021 up to December this year; so that will kick-start our payment in advance to officers that will be retiring.'' The Director also disclosed that the Minister of State had further approved that the board takes over pension remittances of Area Councils and LEAs, beginning 1 October, 2021.

Based on statutory guidelines, an employer contributes 10 per cent to an employee's Retirement Savings Account (RSA) while the latter contributes 8 per cent which is deducted from his/her salary monthly, both amounting to 18 per cent contributions. Dr. Nden said to give immediate effect to the Ministerial directive, the board held meetings with Heads of Administration, Account and Personnel of Area Councils and LEAs on different dates to ramp up action on the issue.

'' So, we have collected information in respect of 18 per cent contribution of the staff; that is to say 8 per cent deductions from the staff and then 10 per cent employer contribution, which makes up the 18 per cent. ''So, effective October, the board will be administering the remittances of the Area Council staff as well as the LEAs,'' he stated. Abuja Digest Weekly notes that the issue of unremitted deductions or partial remittance by some Area Councils and LEAs over the years had at several fora, including pension management stakeholder meetings and others attended by regulator National Pension Commission (PENCOM), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), National Union of Teachers (NUT), Area Council Chairmen and others, generated some heat.

Industry observers say the directive by the Minister of State is a direct move to resolve the matter and ensure strict compliance to the nation's pension laws. Dwelling on other matters, Dr. Nden said to ensure seamless data and records management and deepen more efficient and effective pension management, the board has established pension management offices in some LEA offices such as LEA Kwali, LEA Gwagwalada, LEA AMAC with full complement of computers, photocopiers, scanners, internet capability and back-up solar system.

While plans are underway to set up more offices in other Area Councils and LEAs, he called on Area Councils to make offices available for the assignment. Also, he added, the board has undertaken structured training of relevant officers to deal with aspects of pension challenges in a bid to overcome such.


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