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Unions, others reject contributory pension bill in Plateau

WORKERS of Plateau State-owned tertiary institutions have rejected the bill seeking the establishment of a Contributory Pension Scheme for the state.

The workers, under the aegis of the Joint Union of Plateau-owned Tertiary Institutions (JUPTI), made their stance known at a public hearing organised by the House of Assembly, on Thursday in Jos.

Its Chairman, Mr Paul Dakogol, who presented their position, said that workers were already going through lots of hardships owing to the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), and would not want an “additional headache”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill, which had passed second reading at the House, seeks to domesticate the 2004 Pension Reform Act of the Federal Government, as amended in 2014.

“The new pension policy will add salt to an existing injury. We do not want it,” he declared.

He noted that the existing Defined Pension Scheme (DPS) had been adjudged by workers to be very effective, stressing that introducing a new one would only “do more harm than good”.

“We, from the tertiary institutions, are strongly opposed to this bill, especially in view of its adverse implication on our members.

“We will not accept any policy that may jeopardise the current well organised pension scheme running in our various institutions.

“Also, we are not convinced on the processes and modalities that government will use in transferring benefits from the old to the new pension scheme.

“With the worsening economic challenges in Nigeria, we are not certain government has the capacity to meet up with its own parts of the contribution and faithfully pay liabilities owed workers, at exit.

“So, we are here today to say no to this bill; if it must scale through, then tertiary institutions should be exempted from it,” he declared.

He advised that the existing pension and gratuity scheme should be strengthened via legislative framework, noting that it had proved to be more effective in the face of the current reality.

Mr Zaka Mugu, a commentator on public affairs, in his contribution, faulted the inability of government to conduct serious public enlightenment on the technicalities of the new scheme.

He suggested that more publicity be carried out on the bill “owing to its complexity to an average Plateau worker”.

Responding, Majority Leader of the Assembly, Mr Henry Yunkwap, said that the 8th Assembly was a people-oriented one that would not enact a law that was anti-people.

Yunkwap said that the House would critically look into the various submissions before taking a decision.

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