The verification of ex-workers of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) and other treasury funded parastatals will begin shortly across the country, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) Executive Secretary, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, has said.
She made this known while reacting to allegations by representatives of NNSL ex-workers’ insinuations that PTAD deliberately delayed their enrolment into the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), and frustrated N3 billion pension arrears payment owed to its members.
Ikeazor, who debunked the allegation, assured pensioners, who are yet to be verified, that succour will come their way in conformity to the President’s commitment to improve Nigerian pensioners’ welfare, especially those neglected by previous administrations.
She disclosed that plans are also underway for the verification and subsequent enrolment of qualified ex-workers of Savannah Sugar Company; Aluminum Smelter Company; Nigerian National Shipping Line and others as approved by the Minister of Finance.
She said: “The attention of PTAD has been drawn to a misleading statement allegedly issued by representatives of ex-workers of NNSL, insinuating that the PTAD had deliberately delayed their enrolment into the DBS and thereby frustrating the payment of N3 billion pension arrears owed to its members. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“To correct this false impression, we would like to state that the issue of enrolling pensioners of defunct or privatised agencies is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s commitment towards lifting pensioners, who hitherto, have been neglected for over a decade, out of poverty.
“This policy saw to the enrolment of pensioners of Delta Steel Company; NICON Insurance; Nigeria Reinsurance; New Nigerian Newspapers and Nigerian Telecommunications Limited and its mobile arm (NITEL/MTEL). All agencies that were either privatised or liquidated by previous governments without contingency safety nets for the thousands of their hardworking Nigerian employees. Plans are already underway for the verification and subsequent enrolment of qualified ex-workers of Savannah Sugar Company; Aluminum Smelter Company; Nigerian National Shipping Line and others as approved by the Minister of Finance.”
She explained that in the case of NNSL, the approval for enrolment was received in April 2018, several months after the first set of agencies was approved.
“It is worthy of note, that the Directorate’s pre-verification exercise for pensioners is a long and painstaking inter-ministerial process that requires the collection of data and digitisation of documents. Most significantly, it requires getting the authentic salary structure of the agency concerned, which in the case of NNSL was not an easy feat.
“When PTAD eventually got a response in that regard from the Federal Ministry of Transport, representatives of the Union, whom the Directorate had been actively engaging with all along, declared the document incomplete, saying that it did not include the salary structure of its Seamen. Though PTAD is yet to receive any formal information from Federal Ministry of Transport regarding that allusion.