*Bring back PRTT without further delay
By Olajide Fashikun
There appears no respite yet for federal pensioners as the Lagos State Coordinator, Federal Concerned Pensioners, Mr. David Adodo, has called for the sack of the Executive Secretary, of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
In an exclusive interview he told www.gongnews.net, Adodo suggested that the Pension Reform Task Team headed by Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina be ordered to resume payment of their pensions “without further delay.”
It is pathetic; the same old story; it has not improved. Some people are paid; some are not on the payroll at all. And we have been complaining about this for ages, but the authorities are just turning deaf ears to this. Some pensioners are still living in primary schools; some have gone blind. It is a very serious issue.
There is no amount of money that they give us that is too much. We are not begging for it; it is our right. They should just do the right thing. In advanced countries, they use a scientific approach to work out the modalities.
Government is just being lazy about it. No amount you give us that is too big; we are expecting a minimum of N50,000 per pensioner. The money is there. They say there is no money but they are wasting and stealing billions of Naira; hiding away money in private apartments; the money that is meant for us.
Minimum amount pensioners are paid? As I speak with you now, people who retire on level 12 are earning N2,000; that is ridiculous; that is what I call professional blunder. Payment is based on your grade level while in service. You cannot compare a man that retired on level 17 to a man that retired on level eight. In civil service, you retire based on your level and your length of service. The problem we have is that people handling our money lack experience. They do not understand the interpretation of circulars.
Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) and alleviation of pensioners’ problem? There has not been any improvement. We are experiencing delay in monthly pensions. There is an outstanding payment of 33% increase in pensions for 18 months. They are keeping the money; we don’t know the excuses they are giving. Government said it had given the money to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) but the directorate said it had not received any money to pay the pension arrears. We don’t understand.
Even, for those on its payroll, some of them have not got their May 2017 pensions. There are problems of omission of names from the payroll. Since President Muhammadu Buhari is no more around, they have been treating us the way they want. Nobody is giving us any information.
Nobody cares about us; they just treat us the way they like. Our arrears are pending, gratuities are not paid; even when we make cases for those involved, they just say they are working on it and we have been hanging on that for a very long time.
Relatives of deceased pensioners and their entitlements: The last time I went to the former Executive Secretary of PTAD in Abuja, I was told PTAD inherited 46,000 death cases from the head of service, including the ones I brought, making up to over 50,000.
The cases have not been resolved. What happened to their families and their next of kin? They should not make things difficult for them. They should do the verification on time and bring the cheques of those people. Some people that have not been on the payroll for 10 years, they should bring their cheques too. That is what we are agitating for.
There is no need to keep waiting anymore; let them settle the families of the dead retirees and bring their cheques if they are sincere about what they want to do.
Permanent solution to pensioners’ problems: PTAD cannot handle the situation. The Executive Secretary should be sacked. The agency should be scrapped. They should return to the status quo; let us go back to PRTT or at worse, the head of service, which understands the interpretation of the circulars.
PTAD has failed. It does not even understand the feelings of pensioners. People have been on zero level for 10 years without earning anything, and they are earning their own salaries, enjoying themselves. The government is spending billions of Naira on them. Retirees are suffering and they are dying everyday due to the suffering.
Government should investigate PTAD. Why are people suffering and dying and they are there. They don’t even know how to pay monthly pensions; they find it difficult to pay correctly. What is the essence of the agency?
If they can return PRTT best for us. If not, the government should introduce internal control mechanism to tackle corruption in the head of service. They understand this job very well. If not for their corrupt tendencies, they are the best team to handle this job.
PTAD does not understand this job and they are making us to suffer more. When the head of service was handling it, we did not have it so bad; the problem was corruption as the officers were carting away our money. I am saying it categorically that government is spending billions of Naira on PTAD that does not know what it is doing.
Verification of federal retirees in Lagos: If you put all the pensioners they verified in all the other states together, they are not up to half of those in Lagos State. They are just verifying few people. Let them come with cheques of those on the payroll if they want to help us or we will ask the federal government to scrap that agency. They don’t know what they are doing; they are just wasting government’s funds. We want the government to pay all outstanding pensions and gratuities.