Budgetary shortfalls, non-release of funds compound woes of pensioners

We need money to buy drugs, pensioners lament; get N750.00 monthly in Osun

File photo: Pensioners on queue

There are indications that the reduction in the budgetary allocation for pensions, gratuities and retirees’ benefits in the 2024 budget has further delayed the payment of retirement benefits to Federal Government, FG, retirees and deceased employees.

Kwamkwam news findings show that contrary to the expectations that outstanding entitlements for 2023 would be liquidated in the first quarter of 2024 while the current year’s payment would be come later this year, the reduction in the budgetary allocation may have dashed the hope of the effected retirees.

The last time the FG released money for its retirees’ accrued pension rights was in March 2022.

A check in the 2024 Appropriation Act shows that the FG reduced allocation for pensions, gratuities and retirees’ benefits in the 2024 budget by 21 per cent to N673.01 billion from N854.81 billion budgeted in 2023.

However, as retirees continue to decry the delay in the payment of their entitlements, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has said that the delay is due to budgetary constraints.

Speaking on the development, Director General of PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar said, “The delayed payment of retirement benefits to some Federal Government retirees and deceased employees is because of the inadequate and delayed funding for the payment of Accrued Pension Rights for those who were in service before the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was introduced when PenCom was established in 2004.

“Payment of the accrued rights is subject to release of funds by the Federal Government. So, it is beyond the powers of the Commission.

“However, we have been engaging the Federal Ministry of Finance for more funds to be released to settle these liabilities, but it is not a secret that the government itself has budgetary constraints.”

Kwamkwam news learnt that this has left millions of pensioners stranded and wretched.

Accrued Pension Rights represents an employee’s benefits for the past years of service up to June 2004, when the Pension Reform Act (PRA) that birthed the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) came into effect.

Speaking on the development, President of the Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria, CPUN, Ibadan branch, Mr. Amao Shittu, said: “It is inhuman for government to continue to delay in releasing funds for the payment of pension benefits to retirees and deceased beneficiaries.

“We demand that henceforth any entitlement due to retirees under Contributory Pension should not be pro-rated into 10 years. Every delayed entitlement should be paid directly to the beneficiaries.”

Speaking on the pension sector, Chairman of the National Union of Pensioners Contributory Pension Scheme, NUPCPS, Mr. Sylva Nwaiwu, stated that the way that the CPS is framed is in the best interest of pensioners. However, it should be implemented to the latter.

Nwaiwu stated: “There are aspects of the CPS that can be improved upon, and all stakeholders must ensure that these things are looked into. The CPS is framed in the best interest of pensioners if implemented to the latter.”

Also speaking, Chairman of Association of Retired Federal Senior Public Officers of Nigeria, ARFESPON, said: “The federal government must ensure that the settlement of outstanding pension arrears owed retirees are paid and all illegal deductions on their pensions returned.”


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