The Lagos State Government has paid N14.71billion as accrued pension rights to 3,494 retirees, an official has said.
Besides, N4,203,784,514.49 was paid through the Defined Benefits Scheme, otherwise known as ‘Pay As You Go’, between May 2019 and March 2021 to ensure that those who retired from the Civil Service enjoy life after diligent service to the State.
Reeling out figures of government expenditure on retirement benefits for public servants, the Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Ajibola Ponnle, said:
“The present administration also approved a pension bailout of N13 billion in the Year 2020 Budget. A new increment in the Retirement Bond Redemption Funding Rate from 5% to 10% of the total emolument of active workers was implemented to clear the backlog of outstanding pension obligations. This is in addition to the payment of accrued pension rights of N14.171 billion to 3,494 retirees.”
Mrs. Ponnle spoke at the ongoing Y2021 Ministerial Press Briefing at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, organised as part of activities to mark the second anniversary of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s tenure in office.
She said: “Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu approved the payment of 33% increment for all State pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme and also paid the balance of the 25% rent allowance for officers on Grade Level 07 and above, who retired between May 2000 and August 2004. The Payment took effect in January 2020.”
The Commissioner explained that there are 15 approved Pension Funds Administrators (PFA) and seven approved Insurance Companies that render pension funds management and annuity services to retirees in the State, maintaining that Lagos State is a trailblazer and pacesetter in pension matters in Nigeria, having won awards as the most pension compliant State in the Federation on several occasions.
She stated that in line with Governor Sanwo-Olu’s policy of inclusion, the State Government ensured that pensioners over 70 years old were among the first to get the COVID-19 vaccination, and frequently engages relevant stakeholders such as the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Association of Retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries on behalf of retirees.
While noting that the State Government has earned recognition for its efforts to enhance the welfare and wellbeing of pensioners, Mrs. Ponnle said the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), at its 11th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference in Abuja, honoured Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu with the distinguished award of “Excellence and Greater Commitment to Pensioners’ Welfare”.
Speaking on steps taken to boost employee skills and knowledge, Mrs. Ponnle said the State Government launched the Learning Management System, an IT-based training platform with over 4,500 courses available to train staff on various subjects.
According to her, the virtual training platform has 26,076 employees already enrolled for various courses that would sharpen their skills in areas of interest and at their own pace.
Mrs. Ponnle said that a virtual interactive session between members of the Lagos State Executive Council and Civil Service employees was introduced by the Ministry to enable the exchange of ideas on chosen subjects every month. She stated the sessions have been interesting and provided participants with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with EXCO members who had engaged staffers since the initiative was introduced.