Pensioners seek probe of contributory scheme

Pensioners

Pensioners under the aegis of Association Contributory Retirees (ACR) have called on the Federal Government to probe the operations of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in Delta Sate.

The pensioners pointedly accused the state government of being in league with Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and the bureau for pensions that they accused of short-changing them and denying them of their entitlements.

The senior citizens who aired their grievances at a rally in Asaba recently stormed the Labour House in protest.

The retirees alleged that the state government swindled them of N942.5 million which it purportedly borrowed to pay regular workers but refused thereafter to pay back.

Vice chairman of the retirees, Anthony Osanekwu who led the protest also accused the Pension Commission (Pencom) of turning a blind eye to the antics of the state government and its agents against pensioners.

He said though the first batch of pensioners under the scheme retired in 2010; the government used the 2008 salary structure to calculate their terminal benefits, instead of the 2010/2011 structures.

According to him, despite the wrong calculation, “government decided to pay retirees 25 per cent of their entitlements, instead of at least 50 per cent.

“The state bureaus resorted to the issuance of certificate of retirement (a valueless paper) to retirees instead of State Government Retirement Bonds as stipulated at section 14(b) of the state pension reform law, 2008.”

Besides, he added that payment of retirees’ benefits were delayed for up to three years or more after retirement before payment is effected, thereby, making many retirees to die without receiving the so called benefits.

Osanekwu said despite repeated cries over the years, the state government has refused to take any decisive action because the contributions of the workers and purported contributions from government were taken as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), and thereafter diverted.

“We therefore call on the Federal Government, the initiator of the CPS to ‘save our souls’ by beaming its searchlights into the full operation of the scheme in Delta State that keyed into the CPS since 2008,” he stated.



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