Lagos govt. promises to clear pension backlog by 2021

Mrs Folashade Onanuga, Director General, Lagos State Pension Commision (LASPEC) made the commitment during the 72nd Batch Retirement Benefit Bond Certificate Presentation in Lagos.

“We are sure that by 2021, all outstanding backlog will have been cleared,”she said.

Onanuga said that the mandate would be possible because the state government had increased the funding rate of the redemption account from which the accrued rights is paid from five to 10 per cent.

She explained that government had also approved a budget of N13 billion and a pension sinking fund in addition to the monthly increase.

“We have a lot of fund flowing in to enable us make these payments, and that is why in the last few months, we have paying about N2 billion monthly on the retirement bond.

“With this trend, we are very sure that by 2021, we won’t have any outstanding backlog,”she said.

According to her, the backlog currently being paid is for retirees before April 2007 when the state transmitted to the PFA’s.

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Onanuga said that any worker who joined the Lagos State service after April 2007 and is retiring immediately transmits to become a pensioner because his or her funds are already being deposited in the Retirement Savings Account (RSA).

“The accrued rights, which is the one we are having a challenge with, is what we are taking a bold step to resolve,“she said.

The director general explained that the accrued rights was huge because there were years in the past when government embarked on mass recruitment, and such employees retire at the same time after 35 years.

She said that government would need a lot of funds to pay for the benefits of those sets, unlike the scenario where the recruitment was not very huge.

“With what we have in place, we have taken into consideration what we need to pay the beneficiaries till 2022, and by 2021, we are sure that even before workers retire, their pension rights will already be in their RSAs,”she said.

Onanuga said that the state government paid a total of N1.88 billion for 466 retirees at the 72nd batch retirement benefit bond.

She said that the pensioners were mainly beneficiaries of year 2017 as well as some for 2018 and 2019.

According to her, they are mostly retirees from the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Onanuga said that the state would not have had problem with accrued rights if it had not carried along local government workers and private schools teachers under SUBEB.

Shadvised the retirees to make a suitable choice between the Annuity or Programme Withdrawal option as presented to them by their PFA’s for the payment of their pensions.

She advised the pensioners to be prudent with their entitlements and careful with the kind of business they invest their money on.

Onanuga also charged the elder statesmen to write wills and admit them to probate, so that they will not be subjects of controversy if death occurred.

“Make sure you write your will, keep it in a law court and in a safe place, as it is in your best interest if death occurs.

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“It makes things very seamless for your next of kin because Letter of Administration takes a minimum of one year, as there are cases of even five years to process, before your family can access your entitlement.”

Mr Ayira Rowland, on behalf of the pensioners, thanked God for making it possible to be alive to receive their benefits.

He lauded the conduct of the LASPEC officials during the processing of their entitlements.

Rowland also thanked the state government under the leadership of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for ensuring the processes for the payment were seamless.

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