Contributory Pension is one of the best initiatives in Nigeria -Prof. Olaopa

Contributory Pension is one of the best initiatives in Nigeria-Prof. Olaopa

……says the scheme needs impact assessments.

As the goal of any pension scheme is to make the life of retirees comfortable and enjoyable after retirement, the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has said that contributory Pension is one of the best initiatives in the Country. He also called for impact assessment to be conducted on the scheme to guide against unintended consequence on retirees.

Olaopa stated this in his office when he received the Chairman (Technical Team) of the “Forum of Retired Federal Directors” Mr. Ntufam Oqua E. Eta on a courtesy visit.

As he welcomed the team, Olaopa said he was aware of the challenges of the association; stressing that it was evident from various reforms initiated by the government that they are laudable and grand but impact assessment were not conducted on them on continuous basis.

He believed that some the past initiatives that have constituted the pillars in the country needed to be reviewed on constant basis before they deliver unintended consequences as found the disparities between Contributory Pension Scheme and Defined Benefit and Gratuity Scheme. He said it was fundamental to note that when Contributory Pension Scheme was being implemented, issues will be raised that will test the system; saying that there was no perfect model anywhere in the world as the model kept on evolving.

Quoting section 171 (3) of the Constitution which says: “Pensions shall be reviewed every five years” Olaopa said the demand by the Forum was constitutional and believed every support needed should be given to the organization to achieve their objectives. He promised to work with them to harness the benefit of economic of scales that serving and retired bureaucrats can contribute to nation building.

He asserts that those who retired under contributory pension should equally enjoy periodic review of their pension like those under the defined benefits and gratuity scheme. He assured the team of studying their requests, profile it and reduce it to a little notes; and thereafter identify those agencies that are critical in driving it and put it in the agendas of those constituted authorities and critical stakeholders so that those challenges raised by the Forum can be tackled head-on. He assured the group that he will engage with Head of the Civil Service and Federal Ministry of Finance on their issues at the appropriate time.

As he promised to involve the Forum when the need arises in the course of engaging with appropriate authorities; he saluted the thoughtfulness of the team for organizing the Forum; saying when civil servants do not organize themselves as a profession they lose a lot.

Olaopa advised them to equally consider issues of mentorship, skills building, coaching and guidance in their agenda aside from welfare and pension matters; stressing that it was high time leadership be provided in the service with Head of Service playing a key role in achieving this.

Flanked by the Hon. Commissioners, Olaopa reiterated his commitment to continue to engage with the retired Directors in examination processes.

He, however, said that the process will be deepened to strengthen it. According to him, their experiences are very invaluable to the process. He explained that acceleration of mentorship program for the Forum is critical as lots of technical Committees were being set up that will need trans-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary knowledge of the Forum to be harnessed through their members.

Chairman Olaopa explained that he was very happy that the Forum was established as it was veritable platform to strengthen the link among the Forum, the service and various public administration and management associations including National Association for Public Administration and Management (NAPAM) in order to further engender mutual flow of technical knowledge; and also, to deepen existing relationship.

Olaopa gave the Forum his assurance that his doors are always open to them whenever they need his assistance and support.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Forum, Mr. Ntufam Oqua. E. Eta, congratulated the Hon. Chairman for his well-deserved appointment saying that their visit was to enlist the support of Olaopa in order to redress the injustices contributory pension retirees are experiencing presently.

According to him, the Forum struggle is not for themselves alone but for the next generations; saying that as many Directors retire they will joining their ranks. He revealed that those retired under the Contributory Pension Scheme as at 2007 and those before that which was under Defined Benefit Scheme were not equally treated. He added that those under Contributory Pension Scheme were marginalized and badly treated.

He disclosed that just like many of his colleagues, he has been earning N131, 000 for almost 10years when he retired as a Senior Director working at different Ministries. He further disclosed that Contributory Pensioners were excluded from all the four revisions of salaries carried out by government.

“There was one of 15 per cent in 2007. We were excluded. There was one of 33 per cent in 2010. We were excluded. Another one in 2020, Consequential adjustment of minimum wage. Also in 2019, we were excluded. Then the present which salaries and wages commission issued circular, that is 28 per cent increment 2024. We have been excluded”.

He also stated that recently National Pension Commission issued a circular that were copied to various concerned government organisations particularly, Federal Ministry of Finance to meet their demand so as to redress the anomaly but all to no avail. The Forum Chairman said they believed that with huge support from the Federal Civil Service Commission to their cause, challenges faced by the association will be overcome.

He explained that many of their members retired into penury. Many have no house or car of their own; while others look wretched. He further explained that some have children in schools but cannot trained them; with those with graduate-children that were jobless and others with health challenges. He, therefore, pleaded with Olaopa to lend his voice to their struggles in other for them to achieve their objectives.

In her comment, a member of the Forum, Mrs. Fatima Jiddum Ahmed, said apart from Pension issues, welfare matters was also important to the Forum. According to her, the Forum has a pool of knowledgeable retired Directors with different professions in its fold. She stated that many of the retirees were retired quite alright but they were not tired. She emphasized that the group have a lot they can still contribute to the country if given the opportunity.

She disclosed that the present organization’s interim Executives came on board immediately after the Forum was established in 2019. According to her, the Forum was registered on the 24th August, 2020.

Taiwo Hassan
Head (Press & Public Relations).