N30,000 minimum wage: Pensioners still receive N2,000 monthly ― NUP
• There must be corresponding increase for Pensioners ― Salaries & Wages Commission
The President, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Dr Abel Afolayan, has regrettably revealed that some of its members were still receiving as low as N2,000 monthly pension, while the majority of the pensioners get below N10, 000 per month.
Dr Afolayan made this known even as the Acting Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta, assured the NUP that there will be corresponding increase in their pensions; since the Organised Labour and the government have agreed on the N30, 000 national minimum wage and its consequential adjustments for all categories of workers.
Besides, Ekpo Nta also told the NUP that the amount for minimum pension was already being considered, with the conclusion of negotiation on national minimum wage.
The NUP President, who also demanded N30,000 minimum pension and Ekpo Nta spoke when the leadership of NUP paid a courtesy visit on the Commission acting chairman in Abuja to know the state of work on the issue of minimum pension.
The NUP President said: “The issue is that for the vast majority of the pensioners, it is the token they received they rely on for survival. With the workers, the tension has died down with the agreement reached and the percentage consequential adjustments increase, but with the pensioners, the tension is high, and if I don’t have anything tangible to present to them or tell them at our meeting next week, in Ibadan, there will be problems.”
He pointed out that the pensioners would want to know when they are having their own structure, templates, and tables for the payment of minimum pension.
Dr Afolayan said: “We still have people earning N2,000, some earning N10,000. Vast majority of pensioners in this country earn N10,000 below. It is people in this category that are agitating on what is happening to us. And I don’t want a situation whereby they will say the national president is comfortable, the national deputy vice president is comfortable, the general secretary is Comfortable, that is why they were not concern about our problems. That is why we decided to come here.
“That is what I am saying, the templates, the structure, the table that will be implemented. We are aware that it is the responsibility of National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
“When that goes on, we want to know when our own work will start on our table and how our own table will be worked out, and whether or not we will be involved in the discussions and negotiations on our table because during the last exercise, after the workers’ own had been settled, a committee had to be set up to work out the table for pensioners. One of us is a member of the committee that worked it out and it took a long time after the table for the workers had been approved before our own.
“It is only early this year that the last payment of the month by month of the 33% arrears was paid. We don’t want that to happen this time around. And one compelling reason that we are here is because we are holding our national meeting at Ibadan, and we have invited you to ease the pressure from us.”
The Acting Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta, assured them of a corresponding increase in their person along with the minimum wage.
He, however, advised the pensioners not to ask for peanuts but advocate for integrated policy from local government to the Federal Government on how to take care of the senior citizens, and which must have a minimal condition under which the pensioners must exist.
He said: “Everybody is aware during negotiation on the minimum wage and its consequential adjustment that there must be corresponding increase for pensioners and we shouldn’t wait for agitation again before we do that.
“I am very happy you are all here today. This is the time we should have a major reform in our pension administration concerning the pensioners. There must be total u-turn of pension management in the country.”
He added: “You should not be asking for peanuts because if you don’t do it now, the problem that will come will be worst than the past. I agreed entirely with you, what I am saying is that it would be done but it is not enough. As far as I am concerned, it is not enough, we must have a policy from local government to the Federal Government on how to take care of our senior citizens.
“It must be integrated, it must have a health care which must be part of it, must have a minimal condition under which the pensioners must exist.
“If for workers it is N30,000 then you must also define what a minimum earning pensioners should get. They don’t see things the way some of us see it, if a pensioner goes to hospital, he would occupy the hospital bed longer than the young person.
“I know that the government is already working on it. That one, I think it is being addressed because all along the negotiations, it has always been in consideration, and it was asked at the Federal Executive Council (FEC), so everybody is aware that it must be done.”