Nigeria: Non-contributory Pension Scheme Fraught with Corruption
By Oluwole Josiah, punchng.com
May 20, 2009
President Musa Yar’adua
President Umaru Yar‘Adua has said that the non-contributory pension scheme, which was operated before the pension reforms of 2003, was corruption-ridden.
He was speaking at the National Conference on the Implementation of Pension Reforms held in Abuja on Tuesday.
Yar‘Adua, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, said the pension reform was the way out of the many problems of pensions in Nigeria.
He said, ”Gone are the days when we had corruption in the pension system because now individuals have their own accounts and they have access to them.
”Gone are the days when the Federal Government will go to the capital market to source for funds to pay pensioners.”
He noted that there was a need to look at the non-contributory pension scheme currently being operated aside the new scheme for the purpose of addressing the problems facing it.
According to him, the government is still contending with huge arrears of pensions even after the reforms.
He said there was a need for a new pension regime, adding that a collaboration between the National Assembly and the Executive would ensure that the process was put in place.
”Since the inception of the National Pension Commission, there is no doubt that the aims of the reforms are being achieved and this shows that it is the only way out of the pension problems.
“We believe that the review of the implementation of the pension reforms will give government an opportunity to look into the loopholes and identify the problems with a view to addressing them,” he said.
President of the Senator, David Mark, who was represented by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Senator Ahmed Mohammed, in his remarks, said that the National Assembly was committed to ending the poor treatment of Nigerian pensioners through ensuring the proper implementation of the pension reforms.
According to him, the conference should look at how to address the problems of the medically boarded military pensioners as well as the pains of other pensioners in other government agencies.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, noted that Nigerian workers had come to terms with the pension reforms even though they had kicked against it when it was introduced.
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