THE Federal Government on Monday commenced the pre-retirement process, which includes verification and enrolment of its workers, under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
The acting Director-General, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, said a pre-retirement workshop was taking place simultaneously in 15 locations across the country.
She said the objective of the workshop was to assist prospective retirees to achieve easy transition to retirement life, come 2019.
She said the main verification and enrollment of prospective 2019 retirees would take place nationwide from June 23 to August 17.
“One of the salient objectives of the Pension Reform Act (PRA 2014) is to make pension administration transparent and seamless.
“Accordingly, the Commission has established a uniform set of rules, regulations and standards for all aspects of pension administration, including payment of retirement benefits to retirees,” she said.
Dahir-Umar urged prospective retirees to express their fears so that the commission would do everything it could to address their challenges and make retirement life more comfortable for the future retirees.
Meanwhile, a prospective retiree, Mr Idris Abdulrahman, who has worked for the Federal Government for 34 years, called on the government to clear its outstanding pension arrears.
He said because of the arrears owed to workers who retired over a year ago, retirement now poses a major fear for civil servants on the verge of retirement.
“We want the government to realise that in spite of its reforms through the Contributory Pension Funds, retirees are still going through hell in this country.
“The law says once a person retires, within three months, you should begin to enjoy your benefit. But the reality is that it still takes over a year before you start benefiting.
“PENCOM should be able to articulate its budget for a year in good time, submit it and then mount pressure on the government to pay up the benefits, otherwise we will continue to go through this problem,” he said.
The Director, Corporate Communications, PENCOM, Mr Peter Aghahowa, blamed the delay in payment to retirees on under appropriation by the Federal Government.
“The outstanding amount for accrued rights has been communicated to government and in previous times, what was appropriated was not enough.
“Once we communicate a figure to government and if money is not released completely, retirees will be affected because these are absolute figures of verified retirees,” he said.
Aghahowa called on retirees to be patient and that PENCOM would continue to mount pressure on the government to clear its outstanding pension backlog.