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Defence ministry embarks on harmonisation of military pensions

MINISTRY of Defence has embarked on harmonisation of pensions as part of deliberate efforts to relatively bridge the existing gap in pensions pay structure among ranks.

Speaking at the military pensions stakeholders interactive session in Abuja, minister in charge of the ministry, Mansur Dan-Ali, said that welfare of military retirees was of utmost concern to the present federal administration, as efforts were being made to ameliorate the sufferings of the retirees.

One of the efforts, according him, was the exemption of the Armed Forces from the Contributory Pension Scheme, hinting that the Armed Forces had since reverted to the Defined Benefit Scheme.

He, however, lamented that the Defined Benefit Scheme system, under the old Armed Forces Pension Decree of 1979, had its drawback, given that most of its provisions were obsolete and not in conformity with the current economic realities.

The minister disclosed that the ministry, in collaboration with both the Defence Headquarters and the Military Pensions Board, were making efforts to re-present the bill for an act to amend the Armed Forces Pension Act which, he said, was not passed into law by the 7th National Assembly.

“The proposed bill, if passed into law, would, no doubt, provide the legal framework in the administration of pensions and gratuity”, he said, adding that military retirees should provide inputs to the  proposed bill.

Dan-Ali, however, noted that whatever proposal being made to better the lots of military pensioners must be within the provisions of the law and in consonance with the dwindling revenue of the government.

He assured the retirees of imminent review of their pensions, adding that the Pension Review Committee at the Defence Headquarters had since submitted report to that effect.

Speaking earlier, chairman, Military Pensions Board, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Dabo, expressed concern over the challenges being faced by military retirees, especially at the time of economic recession.