Uche Usim, Abuja
Federal Universities Pensioners Association (FUPA) has commended the Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Dr Chioma Ejikeme for her open door policy, efficiency and empathy in handling pensioners and their concerns since her assumption of office.
The commendation was given by the National President of FUPA, Dr Ayuba Kura during a meeting with the Executive Secretary and National Executive members of the association at PTAD headquarters in Abuja.
According to Dr Kura, the meeting was to, among other things, get clarification with regards the balance of 33% pension arrears, National Health insurance for pensioners, outcome of the nationwide parastatals pensioners verification as well as the pension percentage increase in line with the approved new minimum wage.
He also expressed apprehension with regards pension payments
In her response, the Executive Secretary welcomed and thanked Kura and the executive members for their presence and re-emphasized the Directorate’s readiness to continue to engage with the association with a view to enhancing the welfare of senior citizens.
She reassured them that PTAD was a 100% Treasury Single Account (TSA) compliant agency, which means the manual processing of pension payments has been removed such that staff of PTAD do not have access to these funds. Pension payments are made from PTAD TSA accounts at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directly to the pensioners’ accounts through their banks.
Ejikeme further assured that on the issues raised including the balance of the 33% pension arrears and the pension percentage increase in line with the approved new minimum wage, PTAD is in talks with relevant agencies to make sure they are addressed as soon as possible.
With regards the outcome of the Parastatals pensioners verification, she said the agency is fine-tuning its model and strategy for the smooth implementation of the exercise which will be in phases. The data collated during the exercise will also ensure that only qualified, biometrically verified pensioners are on the Federal Government/PTAD database and payroll system when plans are concluded to commence the National Health Insurance for pensioners.
She reminded the association that pensioners who missed the general verification exercise can be verified at PTAD headquarters in Abuja or Lagos zonal office; mobile verification was also available for pensioners who are too old or sick to come out for the general verification; there is a register to collate details of pensioners in diaspora pending when they return to Nigeria for their verification.
The Executive Secretary also spoke about a recent BVN revalidation exercise conducted in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS). The exercise was to remove pensioners from the payroll if their account is not NUBAN or the bank does not exist, continuous failed payment from August 2019 to October 2019, duplicate BVN or no BVN. This culminated in the removal of some pensioners from the Parastatals Pension Department payroll effective November 2019. She encouraged FUPA to notify affected senior citizens so that they can contact PTAD for their BVN update.
She concluded by restating that PTAD will never request or accept gratification to process their pension payment. She asked them to report anyone suspected to be a fraudster.