SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF PTAD, DR, CHIOMA EJIKEME AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT PTAD HEAD OFFICE, ABUJA, ON 20TH OCTOBER, 2022.
The Representative of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning
Senior Management Staff of PTAD
Our esteemed pensioners
Our friends from the Fourth Estate of the Realm
Ladies and gentlemen
I welcome you all with utmost delight to this historic press conference to announce the complete liquidation of the inherited pension liabilities of two Defunct Agencies, namely the Delta Steel Company (DSC) and NICON Insurance PLC amongst other achievements of the directorate. We are again demonstrating the unalloyed and irrevocable commitment of the Federal Government to enhance the welfare of Defined Benefit Scheme pensioners.
A brief historical background of the inherited unfunded pension and severance benefits liabilities of these defunct agencies is important so as to better appreciate the efforts of this administration in this regard.
In February 2017, PTAD received directives from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to take over the management of pensions and severance benefit liabilities of ex-workers of some Defunct/Privatized agencies, including Delta Steel Company, NICON Insurance PLC, Savannah Sugar Company, NITEL/MTEL, Aluminum Smelter Company, Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), among others. These agencies were commercial entities of the Federal Government that were either privatized or liquidated under the Bureau of Public Enterprises 1999-2005 Public Enterprises Privatization/Commercialization Reform. This exercise resulted in the disengagement of a considerable number of Public Sector employees. In February 2017 when PTAD was given the directive to on-board pensioners from these agencies, they were inherited with unpaid monthly pension and with pension arrears ranging from 84 to 219 months while some of the agencies entitled to one-off payments had not been paid.
At the time of take-over, PTAD did not receive any pension funds or assets to meet the huge unfunded liabilities inherited from these Agencies. Despite this enormous challenge, the Directorate worked assiduously to verify, validate, compute and enroll most of these ex-workers for monthly pension. One-off payments were made as appropriate to those whose severance benefits were so structured. Since 2017, PTAD has been liquidating the unfunded pension liabilities of these agencies. You may all recall that as at December 2021, PTAD had completely liquidated the inherited pension liabilities for New Nigerian Newspapers, the Nigerian Re-Insurance Corporation, made one-off payments to Savannah Sugar, the Aluminum Smelter Company beneficiaries and their next of kin and also Nigerian Aviation handling Company beneficiaries and their Next of Kin and had settled some months of arrears for others. Today is another landmark in the management of defunct Agency Pensioners. The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) is delighted to announce with immense pleasure, the complete liquidation of the outstanding 56months of inherited pension liabilities for NICON Insurance (a total of 100 months were inherited) and the balance of 49 months owed ex-workers of Delta Steel Company (a total of 96 months were inherited) totaling N7,053,150,468.14 (Seven Billion, fifty Three Million, One Hundred and Fifty Thousand, four hundred and Sixty eight Naira Fourteen Kobo only). This landmark achievement has been made possible by the support received from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning, the Committees of the Senate/House of Representatives oversighting pensions, the Budget Office and the commitment and political will of our most pensioner friendly President, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari who has made payment of pension and retirement benefits a topmost priority of this administration.
It is worthy to note at this point that the inherited unfunded liabilities for these defunct agencies at inception was to the tune of over N95,000,000,000. Currently these defunct agencies have a total monthly pension bill of N2,298,893,321.08 (Two billion, Two hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Eight hundred and Ninety Three Thousand, Three hundred and twenty one Naira , Eight Kobo only.) and an annual bill of N62,073,219,358.32 (Sixty-two billion, Seventy Three Million, Two hundred and Nineteen Thousand, three hundred and fifty eight Naira thirty two Kobo), representing 44% of the Total Monthly/Annual Pension Bill of the Parastatal Pension Department. As at today, we have settled a total of over N39B of the inherited N95B, with N3,4B of this amount making up one-off payments. These payments are ongoing.
I had earlier and on several occasions assured our esteemed pensioners from the defunct and privatized agencies that PTAD was working tirelessly to ensure their retirement and severance benefits were paid as soon as possible. I am glad that these efforts are now yielding results, and I must commend our pensioners for their patience and support all these years.
In addition to the payments being announced today, PTAD has successfully implemented the following in the last few years of its existence:
Continued to regularly pay monthly pensions to our pensioners without fail.
Made payment of over N8.5billion as accumulated arrears of pensions and Gratuities to Pensioners of the Civil Service Pension Department and the Next-of-Kin of deceased pensioners through the Expanded Computation Project. Payment which is still ongoing.
Got approval to onboard Ex-workers of Assurance Bank and Nigeria National Shipping Line on monthly payroll.
Completed the payment of 126 months of Inherited Liabilities due to Ex-workers of the Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation
Completed the payment of the 219 months of Inherited Liabilities to Ex-workers of New Nigeria Newspaper Limited
Completed the payment of the One-Off payment to 603 verified Ex-workers of the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON)
Made one-off payment to 620 Ex-workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO)
Implemented the 9.7% increment to Ex-PHCN workers with attendant arrears paid.
Made payment of the arrears owed to the War-Affected Police Officers since their pardon in 2000.
Undertook the full payment of 33% pension arrears to Civil Service, Police, Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensioners, which had been outstanding since the year 2010.
Obtained approval to verify the Defined Benefit Scheme Pensioners of the Bank of Agriculture and place them on the payroll, which is ongoing.
With the liquidation of these inherited liabilities, the burden keeps getting lighter, and we will continue to work with all the relevant agencies of Government to ensure that all accrued pension arrears are fully liquidated, especially the sixty-three (63) months of inherited pension liability owed to the ex-workers of NITEL/MTEL and their Next-of-Kin which we will continue with soon.
Having concluded with the Pilot Phase of the “I Am Alive” Confirmation Solution, that was launched sometime last year, may I also use this opportunity to inform the media and our pensioners that the Directorate has concluded plans for the full roll-out of the “I Am Alive” confirmation solution, which is the way forward in terms of pensioners’ aliveness validation under the Defined Benefit Scheme. The “I AM Alive” Confirmation Solution is a web-based solution that we have designed and launched to enable our pensioners easily confirm their aliveness from the comfort of their homes or neighbourhood using either a smartphone or a computer system.
We can all agree that this solution eliminates the risk and stress involved in travelling to various locations for field verifications, and demonstrates PTAD’s desire to make life easier for our senior citizens and ensure that they continue to enjoy their retirement without stress. This we commit to and will continue to do. The full details for the roll-out of the “I Am Alive” Confirmation solution will be announced in due course, and we count on your support, as always, in disseminating the information.
In the last nine years of PTAD’s existence, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate has been proactively, intentionally and effectively changing the narrative as far as Defined Benefit Pension administration is concerned.
It is worthy to note that all the successes and achievements of PTAD would not have been made possible without the support of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the head of our Parent Ministry, the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr (Mrs.) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, CON and all our numerous stakeholders. We are indeed truly grateful.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
God bless our pensioners.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.