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Pension: 187 Agencies Get N3.3bn Increment Arrears

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja with Agency Reports

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has paid the sum of N3.366 billion to pensioners of 187 agencies.

According to PTAD, the payment covers six months of the outstanding arrears of the 33% pension increment for pensioners across five sectors: Education, Health, Other Public Sector Research Institute (OPSRI), Power, and Universities.

The directorate said that it has now offset 30 months arrears for pensioners in agencies across 5 sectors under Parastatals Pension Department (PaPD).

Daily Asset recalls that between June 2016 and December 2018, PTAD paid 24 months arrears to pensioners in these agencies.

 At the time of its takeover of payment of Parastatals pension in 2015, the Directorate had inherited outstanding 33% pension increment liabilities from the various agencies.

PTAD further has assured that all arrears would be paid in due course.

This payment according to the agency, was in fulfilment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to clear outstanding pension arrears for pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme.

Meanwhile, some insurance and pension experts have called on the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the raging issue of poor pension benefits being paid to some retirees of the Nigeria Police.

The experts made the call-in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday against the backdrop of recent demonstrations across the country by some police retirees.

The retirees, who are under the contributory pension scheme being managed by NPF Pensions Limited, alleged that they were shortchanged as they were paid as low as N2 million lump sum on retirement.

Oku Nana, the Chairman of Retired Police Officers Association (Under the Contributory Pension Scheme) in Lagos, said that some retired middle cadre officers in the police were paid as low as N3.5 million lump sum instead of N10 million paid to their mates in other agencies.

He said this was in gross violation of the provisions of the Pension Act of 2004.

The experts told NAN that the problem might be due to low savings in the officers’ Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA).

They alleged that their employer (The Nigeria Police) might not have made the mandatory counterpart contributions to their RSAs as required by law.

Mr Mufutau Oyegunle, an insurance and pension analyst in Lagos, said that the issue of unfounded account that the police retirees faced was not uncommon.

“It is not that the pension monies were not deducted from the retirees, but just that the monies were not remitted.

“So, zero account means zero returns on investment which affects gratuity,” he said.

Oyegunle said this could be one of the numerous challenges which the NPFPL inherited and was trying to correct.

He suggested a 300 per cent increase across board in the pension entitlements (lump sum and monthly pension) of the affected officers to assuage them.

“It is unjust for an officer who served meritoriously for 35 years to be paid N2 million gratuity upon retirement,” he said.

Dr Edgar Sunday, the Head of Service in Adamawa State, called for proper documentation of pension remittances.

“For example, how much was remitted, the year the money was remitted, the years the remittances covered and beneficiaries.

“We should know that fears of retirement is what is pushing some civil servants that are still in service into corruption,” he said.

Sunday advised President Mohammed Buhari to ensure that pension administrators at the national, state and local government levels manage pension funds in a manner that workers would look forward to retirement without apprehension.

“President Buhari must ensure that pension money diverted are recovered and forwarded to those retirees languishing,” he said.

Mr Leye Awoniyi, an insurance expert in Lagos, advised the Federal Government to devise a way of appropriately compensating the affected police retirees, saying that a labourer deserved his or her wage.

“It is not the fault of these retired police officers, but the system that has allowed this to happen. That a man worked for 35 years and he is not being paid his dues is unfair. The Federal Government must intervene and pay these officers appropriately,” he said.

Mr Otunba Arasi, the Acting Chairman of Federal Civil Service Pensioners in Lagos State, said “we don’t know who is fooling who.’’

“When we go to PTAD, they will tell us the Federal Government has not released money, while the Federal Government said they have released the money.

“We appeal to well mean Nigerians that whoever has President Buhari’s number to please give us,” he said.

Mr. Femi Olaosebikan, a serving police officer in Lagos, expressed fears that this situation would not affect him.

“Is it a crime to be a policeman in Nigeria. How can government stop corruption among us when we are not sure of our pension benefits?”

Economy

Nigerian Banking System is Stable, CIBN Assures Nigerians

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The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Wednesday reassured Nigerians that the banking system remained “safe, sound and resilient,” dispelling fears of bank liquidations.

Its president, Prof. Pius Olanrewaju, gave the reassurance in a statement in Lagos to correct misinformation and fake news that licence of more banks would be revoked.

Olanrewaju emphasised the importance of clarifying rumours that additional bank licenses would be revoked, following the regulatory action taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) against Heritage Bank Plc on June 3.

“We would like to allay the fears of bank customers and the general public that the assertion is false and misleading.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) have debunked the claim,” the Chairman of Council, CIBN, stated.

He added that the ongoing recapitalisation process announced by the CBN aims to further strengthen the resilience of banks and their capacity to support the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Consequently, we urge the public to continue conducting their banking services without hesitation or apprehension,” Olanrewaju said.

According to him, CIBN is committed to promoting best practices and ensuring that the sector remains safe and sound, in collaboration with other stakeholders in the ecosystem. (NAN)

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Business News

FG Secures Investment Commitments of over $30bn Across Sectors-Minister

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The Federal Government  has secured investment commitments of more than 30 billion dollars across different sectors of the economy.

Dr Doris Anite, the Minister, Industry, Trade, and Investment (FMITI), said this during her presentation at the Ministerial Sectoral News Conference to mark President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office  on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that her presentation was titled “Unlocking Trade and Investment to Achieve Renewed Hope Agenda “- Key Achievements and Contributions of the ministry.

Anite said Nigeria’s investment landscape was now witnessing a significant influx of foreign capital, aligning with the Renewed Hope agenda  Tinubu.

She said in addition, the ministry was taking decisive and structured steps to attract capital investments, which would transform the nation’s homegrown enterprises and industries into global players.

“We have concluded stakeholders’ engagements with our domestic private equity and asset management firms towards the inauguration of an Investment Mobilisation Initiative aimed at increasing local and foreign investment as a catalyst for economic growth.”

The minister said in a bid to boost private equity capital formation, the Nigeria diaspora fund was initiated.

“The Nigeria diaspora remit between 20 to 25 billion dollars annually according to the World Bank, but these remittances have not been channeled intentionally to private equity.

“ Therefore, the investment initiative by my ministry is creating the platform to target, mobilise and utilise some of these funds into the productive economy.

“Our Private Equity and Asset Management firms are adept at attracting investments and the support from the Ministry is an assurance that the government is backing this investment drive.

“Government will provide the enabling environment, remove the roadblocks and red tapes to ensure that these investments thrive.”

Anite said the investment drive was not limited to only Nigerian Diasporans, but the ministry was also reaching out to all fund providers.

She said the ministry had also received support from development finance partners.

“I have no doubt that with the success of this initiative, Nigeria will witness a boom in the formation of businesses, and a strong financial and capital market.

“Nigeria will also witness the creation of a strong economic and industrial base to catalyse a one trillion dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) economy.”

Anite said the ministry was set to host the Nigeria Investment Summit, a platform to connect domestic and global investors to Nigeria.

“We are creating and de-risking the investment opportunities in Nigeria, and will showcase these as we inaugurate our digital dealroom which will present the investment opportunities and help facilitate the investments to happen.”

She said this had become necessary because most contracts issued in Nigeria had other jurisdictions as places for arbitration, mostly England.

“We have observed that this is so because most businesses experience delays in the arbitration and legal process for enforcing contracts.

“This red tape will be removed with the automated commercial courts, and this will boost investor confidence and increase investment flows.” (NAN) 

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Economy

Domestic Securities Market a Major Source of Funding for FG – DMO

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The Debt Management Office (DMO), says the Nigerian domestic securities market remains a major source of funding for the Federal Government.

The Director-General of the DMO, Patience Oniha, said this on Monday in Lagos at an interactive session with primary dealers in the Federal Government securities market.

According to Oniha, during COVID-19, when the international markets were closed, we were able to raise the full amount needed to fund the budget.

“Last year, we raised seven trillion Naira as new domestic borrowing. It speaks to the size of the domestic market, its resilience, and its sophistication, unlike we have in many African markets,’’ she said.

Oniha said that the 2024 budget had a deficit of six trillion Naira to be financed through new domestic borrowing.

She said that the National Assembly also approved N7.3 trillion Ways and Means for securitisation.

“Out of the new domestic borrowing of six trillion Naira, we have raised N4.5 trillion. For the Ways and Means, out of seven trillion approved for securitisation, we have raised N4.905 trillion.

“The financial sector has come a long way, and this is another strategic meeting to chart a way forward,’’ Oniha said.

Mrs Nadia Zakari, the President, Financial Market Dealers Association (FMDA), said that the Nigerian business environment was evolving and unique, necessitating such interactive sessions.

According to Zakari, such sessions are critical for both market operators and the Federal Government for them to be able to make decisions as they plan for the rest of the year.

“We stand as financial intermediaries, and we are in a very important position of interacting with other market operators, the end investors and the DMO,’’ she said. (NAN)

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