The Federal Government has uncovered over 15,000 ghost pensioners from its payroll, hence saving over 300 million Naira on a monthly basis.
The Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this on Tuesday while addressing reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mrs Ikeazor noted that the directorate is conducting a verification exercise for pensioners across the country.
She expressed optimism that more will be weeded out when the exercise is concluded in the South-west region in July 2017.
The Executive Secretary further revealed that the agency is working with the Ministry of Finance to recover over 19 billion Naira legacy funds in the custody of insurance companies from Ministries, Department and Agencies, as well as universities and colleges of education.
The federal government has revealed that it is set to kick-start the next phase of civil service Pensioners Verification and Biometric exercise in Bayelsa state.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Barr Sharon Ikeazor.
The statement indicated that the verification exercise would take place in Yenagoa to cover pensioners for Bayelsa on January 16, 2017.
PTAD had earlier concluded verification of civil service pensioners from the North-West and South-East zones in the country in 2015.
As a follow up, pensioners in the North East states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states were recently verified between November 28 and December 6, 2016.
“Apart from identifying ghost pensioners and putting a stop to fraudulent payments, the exercise facilitated the restoration of monthly pension payments to genuine pensioners previously removed from the payroll, including those who had never been paid any pension or gratuity.
“A total of 4,438 pensioners who were verified in the North West and South East who were hitherto not receiving their pension were rolled into November, 2016, and their pension and arrears paid.”
The statement indicated that pensioners are expected to come along with the original and photocopies of their relevant retirement credentials for the upcoming exercise as will be published in national dailies and announced on television and radio.
The National Union of Pensioners has asked the Federal Government to pay the 18 months’ arrears of the 33% pension increase owed pensioners since the review in 2010.
The pensioners were reacting to the payment of 24 months out of the total 42 months owed them.
They say apart from the paramilitary pensioners, other beneficiaries of the increase such as the railway corporation, universities, the Police and electricity workers are yet to fully benefit from the scheme.
They asked for more since their pension has been due for review since 2015.
Reacting to the pensioners’ outcry, the Executive Secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Sharon Ikeazor said that the 2016 budget did not make provision for the payment of the arrears.
She, however, explained that the agency is working with the relevant players in the pension sector to resolve the issue.
She also assured the pensioners that the verification of pensioners which was suspended in 2014 would resume to ensure that every pensioner is accounted for and paid as and when due.