Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Still On the Plight of Pensioners (III)

opinion

IN 2012, very few state workers were beneficiaries from the scheme, as states are allowed to enact their own laws since the PRA 2004 is not binding on them.

So far, about 21 states have adopted the contributory pension scheme while 14 others have initiated the process of enacting versions of contributory pension schemes in their states, except Lagos, that has fully funded its pension obligation.

The systematic rot has contributed to the disposition of several military and para-military organisations to pull-out from the contributory pension scheme, which is a big blow to the entire project.

A number of considerations become useful for better and effective management. For example, the use of e-payment of pensions should be fully deplored for easy reference, easy update and logistics of the pension scheme system.

The existing system whereby basic operations are carried out manually is archaic, manipulative and encourages sharp practices.

Relevant financial institutions should deploy the use of the "alert systems" to inform the pensioner-customer about the credit status of his/her account and at the same time instructing him/her, to claim entitlements.

Although, some banks are fond of delaying payment, for this has continued to inflict a lot of psychological trauma on the pensioners.

There is the need to make the new pension scheme to serve as a veritable platform that would allow genuine private sector actors take a lead while the government should provide the enabling environment and sound quality control mechanism.

It is becoming clearer by the day that business ventures are badly run by state apparatus. Those in charge of the administration of pension should be made to remember that retirement dawns on them, sooner or later.

There is, therefore, the moral burden and need to adore elderly and senior citizens. This is what is obtainable in civilised societies.

More importantly, government should stop paying lip service to this sensitive national responsibility and get things right.

All those found guilty of fraudulent acts, as far as pension administration is concerned should be punished within the ambit of the law, to serve as deterrent to others.

Retirees shouldn't be left to suffer unnecessarily or die in the course of waiting for their benefits. They have their families to cater for. They have bills to settle too.

Paying pensioners their entitlement should not be seen as a favour or a liability, as the present arrangement suggests. It is their right. They should, therefore, not be treated as outcasts and destitute. Even destitute have rights. Or, is retirement is a crime?

*Mr. ADEWALE KUPOLUYI wrote from Federal Varsity of Agric., Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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