KWARA: Workers Still Undecided Over CPS

Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State

THE best way to effectively capture the condition of retirees in Kwara at the moment is captured by the Chairman of the state’s chapter of Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON), Yakubu Abdul CSP (rtd), in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin, the state capital.

Speaking on Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), Abdul noted, “retired Police officer on CPS were paid on rank on verification, instead of rank promoted before retirement. This trend has denied many of our members/pensioners the opportunity of being paid their accurate gratuities or pension.

“As a result of this, Police contributors into this scheme have found it difficult to define their income at retirement. They are often faced with difficulties to rectify this anomaly, and thereby, remain short changed. This means that many police retirees under this scheme are being underpaid.”

Abdul added that there is disparity in payment of pension benefit to retired civil servants. Besides, he said that the retired police officers under CPS from 2010 were paid 25 per cent as lump sum, while other Federal Government agencies enjoyed 50 per cent payment as lump sum, noting, “this disparity needs to be addressed to favour all.”

For him, the non payment of increment to CPS whenever there is increment in the salary of Federal workers has allegedly made his colleagues to remain stagnant on monthly pension. He added that the development is in sharp contrast with those in the old pension scheme, who often benefit from increment each time there is any implementation by the Federal Government.

He believed that pensioners should draw pension till death. According to him, “there should be a definite arrangement for pensioners under CPS to draw pension till death like our counterparts in the old scheme. The Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) is talking about 10 to 18 years period of longevity of the programme as their mandate.”

Speaking on Share of Returns on Invested Pension Fund, he noted, “it is observed that not a Kobo is added to our monthly pension despite the large investment of the pension fund contributed by pensioners since inception of the programme. The commission is now planning to extend the investment of pension funds to African countries; we should be part of this investment.

“The contributory pension scheme was founded on a tripod, that is, pensioners, PFA and the National Pension Commission. It is, however, observed that pensioners we are not part of decision making of policies that affect them. This has to be addressed. With all these, we are calling on the authorities in charge to either restructure this injustice or refund the balance of our money that is being managed by PFA.”

Speaking on the issue, Dr Muideen Akorede, Special Assistant on Media to Governor Abdulfatah of Kwara, believed that it would be unfair for anyone to draw a comparison between the Federal retirees in the state with their state’s counterparts.

Akorede said, “the state had updated all its outstanding payment on pensions to all the state’s retirees,” adding, “that the government sets aside a sum of N150 million every month for the payment of pension.”

He noted, “the system here is that if you retired from service this month and you have filed all your necessary documents, then you would start receiving your pension the next month.”

The modicum of comparison that could be drawn would be if the workers under the employment of the state had agreed to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

Akorede said, “if the workers had made up their mind joining the CPS, then it means after their retirement, the state would not give them any money again. But if they failed to, then the state must meet up its obligations.”

The governor’s aide, however, said the state “is owing the local council pensioners some outstanding arrears. But once we receive the N5billion bail out, we will settle all the outstanding arrears.”

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