NIGERIA Union of Pensioners (NUP) has tasked the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to consult with President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) before removing 23,089 parastatal pensioners from the Federal Government payroll.
The union also appealed to PTAD to painstakingly cross-check its facts and records very well and be double sure of the names involved before removing them finally from the payroll.
Besides, the NUP demanded that PTAD should publish the names of the 23,089 pensioners in at least three national newspapers in order to create the necessary awareness both at home and abroad for all pensioners involved.
PTAD had written the NUP of its decision to remove the names of 23,089 parastatal pensioners from its payroll, with effect from August 2020 pension payment.
The directorate said it took the decision following the “review and analysis” of the field verification exercise it carried out for pensioners between April and November 2019; as well as a follow-up exercise held at the PTAD headquarters in Abuja and Lagos Liaison Office until the lockdown.
However, in a letter addressed to the Executive Secretary of PTAD and signed by the General Secretary of NUP, Elder Actor Zal, the union outlined certain steps the PTAD should take before it could finally remove the names.
The NUP General Secretary said: “We appeal to PTAD to among other measures endeavour to publish these names in at least three national newspapers to create the necessary awareness both at home and abroad for all pensioners involved.
“Furthermore, we are of the opinion that before such drastic action will be taken due consultations with the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari is highly necessary. The regulatory body such as the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) should be adequately briefed, also. The two Pension Committees of the National Assembly, and other critical stakeholders in the pension industry should likewise be carried along in this process before such humongous number of people will be delisted from the monthly payroll, an action that is capable of generating widespread outcry.”
The union added: “Recall that about 109,000 parastatal pensioners were verified by your directorate. To remove 23,089 from the list simply means over 20 per cent of them are on their way out, especially when many diaspora pensioners have submitted their ‘I am alive certificate’ but PTAD is yet to treat their cases, only to summarily add them to the ever growing list of unverified pensioners.
“Experience over the years have shown us that it is always easier to remove names from payroll than to restore them. Example of this is the removal of over 5,000 pensioners from the payroll in November 2019 over the issue of BVN print out. Most of them are yet to be restored despite evidence to the contrary.
“Undoubtedly, pensioners’ monthly payments are about their livelihood as many of them do not have any other means of income to survive. More so, they are aged, vulnerable and endangered species exposed to numerous health challenges.
“We appealed to you to give more time to these vulnerable pensioners so that PTAD can do a final mop-up verification exercise on a zonal basis and Abuja. This arrangement is necessary because of the huge number of pensioners involved.”
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