Establish Robust Pension Scheme,RSG Urged


Rivers State Government has been called upon to take practical and conclusive steps towards establishing a robust contributory pension scheme for an efficient civil service and better economy.
The Director and Chief Executive Officer, U & C Microfinance Bank Ltd, University of Port Harcourt, Mr Augustine Ngomeke Nwiyordee, made the call Tuesday, at the 20009 civil service week celebration in Port Harcourt.
In his paper entitled, “The New Pension Reform Law: The Implications on the Civil Servants and Pensioners”, Mr Nwiyordee described civil service as the bedrock of the state, adding that for it to continue to play its pivotal role as an instrument of national development, the state must put in place a robust pension scheme that will guarantee free and smooth transmission from work to retirement.
According to him, new Pension Reform Scheme was enacted in June, 2004, with a mandate by the National Council of State to all states of the federation to implement for a smooth retirement process.
Mr Nwiyordee averred that the new pension scheme is contributory, fully funded and provides some financial democracy to civil servants and pleaded for a quick implementation.
He said, “it is imperative for states and local governments to subscribe to the scheme because the old pension scheme is unsustainable, arguing that it is better to jettison the old one for the interest of the workers and the nation’s economy.
He noted that the Pay-As-You-Go Pension scheme presently in operation in the states was loosely managed, largely unfounded and non-transparent resulting in massive accumulation of pension debt, protracted delays in payment of retirement benefits due mainly to complex computation and administrative procedures by pension fund administrators.
“As a result of the difficulty of the old system, the retirees, some weak, sickly, blind and halting are busy moving up and down choosing files. This is indeed de-motivating and sometimes leads to prospective retirees to seek for self-help by way of altering records of service in order to avoid de-humanisation,” he said.
Mr Nwiyordee however, remarked that the processing and payment of pensions in the state does not reside in one office, maintaining that neither the Head of Service (Establishment) nor Ministry of Finance can be assigned the full responsibility for payment pension under the present arrangement.
He stressed the need for the state government to adopt laws that would be consistent with the pension reform of 2004.
Earlier, the Rivers State Head of Service, Mrs. Esther Anucha, had revealed that the pension reform law had been passed by the state government, pointing out that, “when the law is implemented, it will lead to the prompt payment of pension and gratuity to retired staff in the state service as and when due”.