I am also here to salute the enviable and commendable commitment of the Lagos State Government to post-service welfare of its officers.
Akintola Benson Oke
I am here to offer hearty congratulations to officers of the Service who are scheduled to retire in the first half of year 2019. It is no mean feat to reach the age of retirement in health and to retire honourably from service. I am certain that you can take pride in your contributions to the development of our dear Lagos State over the years. Our dear Lagos State is much better because you served, and your services are deeply appreciated.
I am also here to salute the enviable and commendable commitment of the Lagos State Government to post-service welfare of its officers. As you well know, the Lagos State Government under the effective leadership of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has long demonstrated its full and unalloyed commitment to its pensioners, to the government’s pension obligations and to the implementation of all the provisions of the Pension Reform Act of 2004. I am therefore pleased to now restate, on behalf of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the continuing and irrevocable commitment of this present administration to the welfare of pensioners, the dutiful discharge of pension obligations, and the regular reform and retooling of the government’s pension systems from time to time and as the exigencies of the times may demand.
LASPEC has been one of the principal vehicles through which the Lagos State Government has executed its mandate to display full fidelity to pensioners and retirees in general. Over the years, LASPEC has dutifully carried out the objectives of the Lagos State Contributory Pension Scheme Law. LASPEC’s stewardship of the trust entrusted to it has been chiefly responsible for the several accolades and awards that Lagos State has won over the years.
Furthermore, LASPEC has also been responsible for the fulfillment of the wider objectives of the Law as espoused under section 4 of the Law. These include: (a) the assistance of all persons in the employment of the State Government to save towards their retirement; (b) ensuring that persons who leave or retire from the Public Service of the State receive their terminal or retirement benefits as and when due; (c) establishing and monitoring the adherence to the rules and regulations for the administration and payment of retirement benefits in the Public Service of the State; (d) establishment of the group life policy in respect of death benefits for employees who die while in service; (e) administration of Retirement Bonds for employees with past service benefits; and (f) the establishment and maintenance of the Redemption Fund from which the liability of the bond payments would be made.
Given the notable distinction with which LASPEC has discharged its mandates, today is yet another occasion for us to commend the leadership and staff of the Lagos State Pension Commission for faithfully and diligently pursuing its mandate as a regulator and manager of the pension obligations and assets of the Lagos State Public Service. As I have mentioned in the past, LASPEC is the vehicle through which the Lagos State Government has severally demonstrated its virtuous moral compass.
Today’s event marks yet another indication that the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions, and further through LASPEC, remains committed to pursuing not only the objectives of the law setting it up but also the welfare of the officers of the public service for whose benefit the law was made. In support of this assertion, I am pleased to inform you as follows:
(a) In the last 38 months i.e., August, 2015 to October 2018, the Lagos State Government has paid Accrued Pension Rights of Forty Billion, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Three Million (N40,933,000,000.00K) to Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-Two (9,982) Retirees. As at October, 2018 Accrued Pension Rights of N74.578 Billion had been paid to 17,391 retirees by the state government since the commencement of payment of entitlements in 2010 in the Contributory Pension Scheme dispensation;
(b) The Lagos State has also been committed to the regular funding of the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) of active workers. We remain the only State in contribution remittances. As at October, 2018 the total contribution remitted to the Pension Fund Administrators from April, 2007 to date is N91 billion; and (c) The Lagos State Government’s funding of employees’ Retirement Savings Accounts under the CPS in a period of 11 years is about N166 billion.
You will agree with me that the Lagos State Government has really shown incomparable commitment as far as pension entitlements are concerned and I want to assure prospective retirees that the Lagos State Government through LASPEC will not relent in its effort at giving retirees not only what is due to them statutorily, but also continue to receive through other agencies and programmes, additional support and assistance that will add value to life in retirement.
As prospective retirees face a new future, please be reminded of the wise counsel of Franklin D. Roosevelt: the firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. We have to be afraid of nameless, unreasoning, unjustified fears about the future. We encourage you to eschew fear and anxiety and instead to embrace faith and hope as they go into a new stage in their lives. Again, please bear in mind that while change may bring daunting challenges, you really have nothing to be anxious about because, among others, you have the advantage of having served the Lagos State Government that has made adequate arrangements for your future in retirement.
Let me emphasise that these Retirement Benefit Documentation Seminars are held bi-annually. The seminars are put together for civil servants who will soon be retiring or have recently retired from the State’s Public Service. It is a programme designed to educate prospective retirees like you on the documentation required to enable you have quick access to your terminal entitlements. Secondly, it is to expose you to the fears and challenges faced by retirees and measures to take to ensure your peace of mind as you transit into another phase of your life.
Therefore, with the benefit of the knowledge of a responsive and responsible employer in the Lagos State Government, I urge you to embrace the coming change with confidence. Without doubt, there are other challenges inherent in facing a period of retirement. Let me advise you not to be apprehensive about these. Change is built into the fabric of our lives. This is why Kakuzo Okakaura rightly observed that “the art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings” and the great Mahatma Gandhi said, “Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.”
Dr Benson Oke writes from Lagos