THE National Pensions Commission (PenCom) on Wednesday refuted claims that pensioners’ accrued rights from May 2017 to April 2018 was N97.55 billion.
Dr Amino Farouk, Head, Research and Corporate Strategy Department, PenCom, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the faulty claims were by some media organisations.
Pensioners’ accrued rights are the term used to describe what the Federal Government owes its workers who have been in service before the commencement of the Pensions Reform Act, 2004.
That is the contributions accumulated in the pensioner’s Retirement Savings Account and their accrued rights from the time they joined the service to the time they migrated to the Contributory Pensions Scheme (CPS).
The PenCom official said that the pensioners’ accrued rights for the 11 months were actually less than N70 billion.
Farouk said: “From my reckoning, the accrued rights are actually less than N70 billion.
“I have no idea that the accrued rights from May 2017 till date stands at N97.55 billion.’’
He added that the commission was working closely with the Federal Government to ensure the payments of the rights.
Farouk said the commission had already submitted a report of the total amount outstanding to the Federal Government as it ordered.
“We are waiting for the Federal Government to get the budget approved by the National Assembly and for money to be released to pay the outstanding,’’ he said.
According to the PenCom official, the delay in gratuity, lump sum and monthly pension payments are due to unfunded backlogs by the Federal Government contrary to the perception that the money has been embezzled.
He said that pensions deducted under the contributory pension scheme are safe with the commission.
Farouk said that President Muhammadu Buhari had previously released N54 billion in April 2017 to clear backlogs of accrued pension rights.
He said the figure was able to clear the previously accrued rights backlogs to August 2016.
“The N54 billion was able to clear the backlogs to August 2016 after which the Federal Government has been releasing pension monies on a monthly basis.
“I can say confidently that pensions have been cleared to April 2017,’’ the PenCom official said.