Consequential adjustment: We do not receive up to N23,000, pensioners cry out

• Say amount in circular different from actual pay

Pensioners, under the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) have cried out that they do not receive up to what is approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, as contained in the circular released recently on the consequential adjustment in pensions arising from the implementation of the national minimum wage.

The pensioners said the least paid retired pensioner from the civil service in Grade level 01 is not presently receiving up to N23,400, as reported in Nigerian Tribune’s front page of last Thursday, saying that Nigerian Tribune has done them a lot of good to know what exactly they should be receiving.

According to the union, many of their retired members in the civil service are still receiving far less than N24, 000. The NUP General Secretary, Elder Actor Zal said many of their members were presently receiving between N10,000 to N20,000 per month, most especially those who retired on Level 01.

Nigerian Tribune had exclusively reported on Thursday that despite the recent approval of consequential adjustment in pensions by President Buhari, the least paid retired pensioner from the civil service on Grade Level 01 still receives a paltry N23, 426 monthly pensions.

Quoting the circular number SWC/S/04/S.542/II/298, dated 28 April 2021, it also reported that a civil servant who retired at the highest level after service on Grade level 17, will henceforth receive N188,688 monthly pensions.

This, according to our earlier report, was contained in the table of consequential adjustment in pensions arising from the implementation of the national minimum wage, released by the Chairman (acting), National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta; and attached to the circular.

Nta said in the circular that “the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved the consequential adjustment in the pensions of retirees, under the defined benefit scheme.”

According to him, the consequential adjustment in the pension of retirees under the defined benefit scheme affected agencies under 13 different salary structures, of which the public/civil service structure- the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS) is number one.

The other salary structure affected are; Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS); Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (CONTISS II); Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS II); Consolidated Tertiary Educational Salary Structure” (CONTEDISS); and Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Salary Structure (CONPCASS).

Others are; Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS); Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS); Consolidated Intelligence Community Salary Structure (CONICSS); Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS); Consolidated Police Salary Structure (CONPOSS); and Consolidated Para-military Salary Structure (CONPASS).

Nta pointed out that the table showed the “absolute increases”, adding that the approval takes effect from April 18, 2019, the date President Buhari signed the new National Minimum Wage into law.

The investigation by Nigerian Tribune, however, shows that there is a disparity between what the table said a retiree on Grade level 01 received before the increase and what they actually received.

For example, on its second column (current pension per month), the table said retiree on Grade level 01 received N14,733 before the increase, and with the approval/addition of 59 per cent increase (N8,692), the retiree is expected to earn N23,426 new pension per month.

However, the NUP general secretary said many of the retirees on Grade level 01 received less than N14, 733 prior to the increase, adding that there are many who received between N2,000 and N10,000 per month before the increase.

So, Zal said there is no way someone that received between N2,000 and N10,000 before as monthly pension would jump to N23,426 with an addition of 59 per cent increase or N8,692.

He said the logic of the table of consequential adjustment in pensions is only known to those who put it together and those who are implementing it.

Elder Zal, however, appealed to President Buhari to listen to their agitation and clamour for a minimum pension, which he said should be put at N30,000 just like the national minimum wage.

He also urged the President to ensure that the constitutional provision that says that pension should be review every five years be adhered to strictly, saying that if this is done as the constitution envisaged, the plights of pensioners will be drastically reduced.

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