SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF PTAD, DR. CHIOMA EJIKEME AT THE NORTH-WEST STAKEHOLDERS ENGAGEMENT FORUM, HELD AT KADUNA, KADUNA STATE ON 15TH MAY, 2023.
I warmly welcome you all to this Stakeholders Forum which we periodically organise to meet and interact with our pensioners and Stakeholders in all the geopolitical zones of the country.
Let me start by expressing my appreciation to you all in the North-West Zone for making out time to journey from your various states to honour our invitation. We are truly grateful, and it is my sincere belief that our interaction here will be of immense benefit to us all.
At the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, carrying our pensioners and stakeholders along in what we do is of utmost importance to us; and this is why we organize this kind of forum to interact with you, keep you updated on our activities as well as our future plans, and most importantly, get your feedback.
PTAD’s determination to change the narrative as far as pension administration under the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) in Nigeria is concerned is irrevocable. It is pertinent to note that PTAD has intentionally and consistently been working on achieving positive and sustainable change in the DBS Pension management for the almost 10 years of its operation. It is worthy to mention that PTAD would be ten by August of 2023.
You may recall that the Defined Benefit Scheme in the past was fraught with allegations of fraud, corruption and inefficiencies prior to the establishment of the Directorate. However, the processes and controls that have been put in place since the establishment of PTAD have contributed immensely to the change being witnessed today in the management of the Defined Benefit Pension scheme.
The hard work of PTAD over the years is now paying off and in the course of the presentations we are going to make here today, you will get to understand the enormity of the challenges inherited by PTAD at inception. You will then subsequently appreciate the sheer volume of overhaul that PTAD has had to carry out, in order to get to where we are today.
Our journey from field verifications, mobile verifications, to putting together a solid database of pensioners, benefit computation, ensuring the regular payment of monthly pensions and paying long overdue pension arrears to pensioners, has been a progressive one filled with creativity, dedication, commitment, persistence and resulting in milestone achievements. It is not yet a perfect situation, albeit PTAD is committed to continuing to make giant strides in the Defined Benefit Scheme Administration.
Since our last Stakeholders Forum for the North-West held in Kano, Kano State in November 2021, PTAD has carried out a series of activities which include:
• Complete payment of arrears arising as a result of the consequential adjustment to pensions as a result of the increase in minimum wage of April 2019 to the four operational departments in the Directorate.
- Complete liquidation of the 126 months outstanding liabilities due to ex-workers of Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation
- Complete payment of the 219 months of inherited liabilities to Ex-workers of New Nigeria Newspaper Limited
- Complete payment of the 100 months of inherited liabilities to Ex-workers of NICON Insurance
- Complete payment of the 96 months of inherited liabilities to Ex-workers of Delta Steel Company (DSC)
- Implemented the 9.7% increment to Ex-PHCN workers with attendant arrears paid.
- Payment of a total of 48 months of the 84 months inherited arrears owed NITEL/MTEL pensioners in December 2022, leaving a balance of 36 months for complete liquidation.
Through the unwavering support of President Muhammadu Buhari, PTAD has completely liquidated the inherited unfunded liabilities of all the Defunct/Privatised Agencies handed over to PTAD in 2017, with the exception of NITEL/MTEL with a balance of 36 months, which we are fully committed to liquidating.
You may recall that, PTAD launched the “I AM Alive” Confirmation Solution in 2021 and has successfully completed the Pilot Phase where we tested the application on 50,000 randomly-selected pensioners from the four (4) Operational Departments and the six (6) Geo-political zones. Following the success of the Pilot Phase, on the 14th of April 2023, PTAD fully rolled out the solution for the use of our Pensioners.
However, to ensure an efficient and effective delivery, and prevent a heavy flow of traffic on the website, we have staggered the availability of the Confirmation Solution according to departments as follows:
|14th April, 2023
|13th October, 2023
|Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensioners
|1st June, 2023
|31st December, 2023
|Civil Service Pensioners
|1st July, 2023
|31st January, 2024
|1st August, 2023
|28th February, 2024
Pensioners are to kindly take note of the above scheduled dates as they concern their respective departments. Any changes to these dates will be duly communicated through the Press and other appropriate channels.
PTAD has provided a six-month grace period for every department and their pensioners to complete their “I Am Alive” Confirmation (IAAC) Solution. Kindly note that PTAD has trained Pension Desk Officers from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies our pensioners retired from, as well as the various Representatives of Pension Unions’ on the use of this application, and they will assist pensioners who are unable to carry out the confirmation on their own.
As part of our resolve to ensure that no eligible pensioner is left out, PTAD wishes to inform all our pensioners in the United States of America and Canada that a Survey is being carried out by the Directorate to ascertain the number of pensioners we have in these countries and their various locations within the countries. The information gathered during the survey will enable us plan accordingly for Diaspora verification. I therefore enjoin you to inform your members who are living in these two countries to visit the PTAD website and take part in the survey. This is very important.
The commitment of PTAD to the welfare of our pensioners remains sacrosanct, and we shall continue our meetings and engagement with the various Pension Unions to ensure quality service delivery. It is our prayer that the President-Elect, will be as favourably disposed towards the pensioners of the Defined Benefit Scheme as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been. We cannot afford to go back to the time when the DBS pensioners were owed months of pension arrears and their needs pushed to the back-burner.
May I also use this opportunity to continue to sensitise our pensioners against patronising pension fraudsters. No staff of PTAD will call or send any message to you requesting for payment or ask you to call a certain phone number before your arrears or gratuity will be paid. Once you get such messages, you should know that PTAD did not send them and will never do so. Kindly share this important information with your members so they do not fall victim to these fraudsters.
PTAD is grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari who has since the inception of his administration made payment of pensions an un-written first line charge. We also appreciate the support of our able Supervisory Minister, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the National Assembly Committees oversighting PTAD, and all our other major stakeholders who have made the modest successes achieved by PTAD possible.
Once again, I welcome you all and wish us a fruitful deliberation.
God bless our pensioners.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria