NSITF raises team on payment of ex-workers’ pension

THE Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has raised a committee to ensure the payment of 33% pension increment to its former staffers.
 
The Managing Director of NSITF, Munir Abubakar, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday after a two-hour meeting with the protesting ex-staff, said the decision to picket the premises was borne out of misunderstanding of how pension administration works.   
 
His words: “The meeting has disabused the distrust that our retirees have against the management. Ever since this issue started over two years ago, we have been doing our best to ensure we find amicable middle ground that will be acceptable to the retirees. I am extremely pleased that we have finally find amicable solution to the matter. The picketing of our office by the pensioners’ union has also afforded them to see what the management has ben doing and the efforts that have gone into resolving the matter.”
 
The eight-man committee includes
 
He also lauded a team that was sent by the National Union of Pensioner (NUP) led by the Deputy National Secretary, Joseph Okunade. He added that the NUP team, through the picketing has contributed to finding amicable solution to the logjam.
 
“Like I always say to all the stakeholders that the NSITF is a big organization and it is in the best interest of the Nigerian workers to create enabling environment that will allow for smooth implementation of the Employees Compensation Scheme. I assure the retirees that management is always seeking for ways of bettering their collective interest. The management sees the retirees as our ambassadors and therefore we cannot do anything that will harm their wellbeing,” he explained.
 
Abubakar also stressed that the NSITF has never defaulted in the payment of pension to its retirees and that they are paid first before workers are paid their salaries every month, saying, “even when we were going through tough period to the point of liquidation between 2004 and 2010, pension payment never stopped for one day. Why are we going to stop or delay payment of pension now that we have a programme we are running?”
 
The issues that the 8-man committee is saddled with is the implementation of 33% and Pencom will be visited by the committee to see how that can be paid, settling of differences between the two factions and how the 1% check off dues would be remitted. The meeting also agreed that going forward, there would be regular meeting between NSITF and the in-house pensioners’ union.
 
The NSITF boss hinted that the proposal by the ex-workers to the management to pull out of the contributory pension scheme introduced by the Federal Government in 2004 would be challenge.
 
He added: “The proposal by the ex-workers that the NSITF management should pull out of the contributory pension scheme may not be tenable because as a government parastatal, we have no choice but to obey government directive. The pension reform Act of 2004 does not give us any under which we can withdraw participation. Even our existence is tied up to that law. The establishment of the Trustfund Pensions Plc was done in strict compliance to the Reform Act. To this end, we are going to discuss with Pencom on all the issues raised and I am sure we will find amicable solution at the end of the day.”

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting said the terms of Reference of the Joint Committee include: to initiate the process of implementation of 33% pension increment; to initiate the process of implementation of payment of 58 months arrears at 33% pension increment; to look into the issues raised by the Pensioners in the letter dated 10th
March 2015 and look into the labour issue of the Pensioners Union
 
The committee is also addled with the responsibility of looking into any other matter connected with the welfare of pensioners that is deemed to be within the purview of the Joint Committee to discuss.
 
On his part, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners NSITF branch, Mbazigwe Akonye, lauded the setting up of the committee that is saddled with the responsibility of resolving the grey areas.
 
He called on the management to ensure regular dialogue with the ex-workers with view to jointly finding solution to pension challenges as they happen. He said the union was ready to work with the management to ensure the implementation of the Employees Compensation Scheme it is currently executing.
 
The members of the committee include NSITF General Manager, Administration and Human Resources, Olusegun Basorun (Chairman), Deputy General Manager Henry Ehhasomi, Assistant General Manager, Legal, Mrs. Toyn Arokoyo Principal Manager, Human Resources, Mrs. Grace Benson who will serve as the secretary while Mbazigwe Akonye, Rukkayyat Alkali, Ayo Olutekumbi and Joseph Okunade represent the ex-workers.



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