The Federal Government is yet to release the N54 billion pension arrears it promised to pensioners due to delay in reconciliation of pensioners’ benefits.
Some Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday, said that they were yet to receive the funds from the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
The PFA officials, who spoke on anonymity, said that PENCOM officials had visited some PFAS for accounts’ reconciliation to ascertain the outstanding arrears, but was yet to commence disbursement of funds.
They expressed fears that disbursement of the funds could be delayed further with the sack of the commission’s former management by the government.
“It will be very difficult to start disbursing the funds now with the sack of the former management. Government approved the pension arrears this week and sacked the management the following week,” one said.
Mr Emeka Onuora, the Head of Communication Unit in PenCom, confirmed to NAN that the money was yet to be disbursed.
Onuora said that the funds had to go through due processes before disbursement.
He said that the Federal Government would not disburse funds just like that without adhering to laid down accounting procedures.
Onuora said that the funds would go through the Office of Accountant General of the Federation and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said that the commission would start disbursing the funds once the accounting processes were completed.
NAN reports that the Federal Government, on April 6, said it had approved N41.5 billion and N12.5 billion for payment of pension arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016 and for January, February and March 2017, respectively.
Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, confirmed the release of the money in a statement signed by the Director of Information in the ministry, Salisu Dambatta.
She said the government was concerned about the plight of pensioners who retired under the Contributory Pension Scheme without being paid.
“Despite conflicting demands for available cash, President Muhammadu Buhari has always expressed concern about the plight of workers and pensioners.
“Consistent with this, we have released N41.5bn, which clears the arrears inherited from the previous administration relating to the period 2013 to 2015, and underpayments in 2016,” Adeosun said.