Uche Usim, Abuja
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) on Wednesday disclosed that N96 billion has been spent between July 2019 and August 2020 on settling monthly pension obligations across all the operational departments.
This is as a whopping N44 billion worth of pension assets are still trapped with the underwriters, which the Directorate is fighting to recover.
The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, made the disclosures in Abuja at a media briefing.
According to her, over N77 billion was paid as monthly pensions payments to 244,643 pensioners as at July; while 87, 842 pensioners were paid arrears and gratuities of over N19 billion.
She further explained that N670 million was paid to 418 Next of Kins (NoKs) of deceased pensioners.
‘The payments included the balance of 33% arrears for the parastatal pensioners which had been outstanding since 2010 and was fully paid to the pensioners and NoKs in November/December 2019.
‘The Directorate made payments in December 2019 as well as in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020,’ she said.
The PTAD boss gave the breakdown of pensioners of agencies whose liabilities were partly offset to include, 12 months arrears paid to 501 New Nigeria Newspapers pensioners in 2019; 12 months arrears paid to 1,038 NICON Insurance; 287 pensioners of Nig-Reinsurance; 3,651 pensioners of Delta Steel Company; 11,331 NITEL pensioners got one month arrears in 2019 and 306 NAHCo pensioners got one month pay off earlier this year, while others are being processed.
Ejikeme further revealed that PTAD, in 2019, collaborated with Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) on Bank Verification Number (BVN) Authentication. The NIBSS BVN validation exercise led to the suspension of 5,834 pensioners from the payroll.
However, 2,416 of those removed have been restored after undergoing positive review and validation.
She stated: “PTAD is working assiduously on the recovery of legacy funds and assets in the custody of 12 insurance underwriters belonging to the defunct agencies.
‘They were previously responsible for the pension payments to Federal government parastatals and the universities.
‘Out of the 12 Insurance underwriters identified by the Directorate who are in custody of legacy funds and assets, the Directorate has filed an action under the undefended list procedure for the recovery of legacy funds and assets against four insurance underwriters namely: Goldlink Insurance Plc, Unic Insurance Plc, Standard Alliance Life Insurance Plc and Niger Insurance Plc.
‘Two out of the four cases have been decided in favour of the Directorate. The Federal High Court, Lagos gave judgment in the case against Goldlink Insurance PLC in favour of PTAD to the tune of N1,238,234,383.96 being the outstanding balance of the Federal Government Legacy Funds and Assets in the custody of the Defendant with 10% post judgment interest until the judgment sum is fully liquidated; and on the 2nd day of April 2019, the Federal High Court, Lagos entered judgement in favour of the Directorate in the sum of N829,788, 380.19 being outstanding balance of the Federal Government legacy funds and assets in the custody of Unic Insurance company”.
On the NAHCo issue, she said PTAD does not decide what is paid.
‘We worked with information provided to us. In respect to NAHCo, BPE and NAHCo itself computed the amount we paid. NAHCo was a commercial enterprise privatized in 2005. Federal Government didn’t allocate payment of pension to NAHCo. What we used in paying NAHCo was 2019 rollover. When the list of NAHCo came, it came with payment that had already been settled as severance package. PTAD was
to compute entitlement of the pensioners and deduct what had been paid before and pay the balance. When the controversy came up recently, NAHCo representatives said they mistook what was paid to them to be golden handshake. PTAD is an engine room, we pay based on directive,’ she clarified.