The issue of non-payment of pension and gratuity to government retirees years after retirement from active service has over the years been a subject of public discourse in the nation’s polity.
Perhaps moved by this touchy national issue, the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Richard Akinjide recently took a swipe at government at various levels over the mind-boggling issue. His words: “It is breach of contract for any government to deny its retirees the payment of pension and gratuity.”
He observed that since the nation’s economy is not static, it was necessary that pension and salary be seen as index link in view of the prevailing purchasing power, and called on government to fulfil its obligation to their workers by ensuring the early payment of pension and gratuity.
Not done with the issue, he intoned: “When a salary earner is retired and not paid his benefits, it means that he has been shortchanged,” and insisted that the benefit of the civil service is the security and the certainty it afford workers who expect that at the time of retirement, they are paid their benefits.
Sadly, an average retired Nigerian worker had over the years been literally wailing over the non-payment of his pension and gratuity. There were confirmed reports that some retired workers even died before their entitlements could be paid.
Apparently worried by public outcry, the last administration established the National Pension Commission (PENCO), with an Act by the erstwhile National Assembly, in order to give legal teeth to the commission. This was greeted with applause by the general public, especially the retirees.
Indeed, the contributions of Nigerian workers and employers to the contributory pension scheme now stand at N847 billion, according to report from the pension commission.
But it is rather unfortunate to hear that some states in the country are yet to implement the laudable scheme in spite of the awareness campaigns mounted by the federal authorities, thus hanging the fate of their retired staff in the balance. This is sad, to say the least!
Worse still, a section of the private sector had also reportedly refused to implement the National Pension Scheme, for some inexplicable reasons, an attitude that is giving concern to the authorities of the commission, in view of the anticipated plights of the retired staff of such firms.
It is therefore imperative to ask the Federal Government to wade into the issue and prevail on such defaulting state governments and firms to implement the pension scheme, in order to lay a good foundation for their retired staff.
Agreed, there had been fears over the ‘safety’ of the funds so far contributed to the scheme. But the provisions of the Pension Act, squarely allay such fears, especially the various levels of risks involved in the management of the contributed funds.
Again, the federal authorities should rise to the occasion and direct some of the contributors (state governments) to remit promptly, their contributions to the contributory pension scheme. That way, the future of the retired staff would be assured.
That said, one sure way to implement the National Pension Scheme is for the National Assembly to step into the matter. This, it could do, by directing the committee concerned to work with the management of the National Pension Commission.
That way, the committee would be able to identify the defaulting state governments, as well as a section of the private sector, and thereafter roll out the sanctions against such recalcitrant states and firms.
The future of the Nigerian retired worker must be protected and assured, no matter whose ox is gored. Yes, time has come when a retired worker should smile home rather than cry home. The contributions by employers of labour to the pension scheme, appears to be the only sure way.
But when shall we stop to weep for the country’s retirees for not getting their entitlements years after retirement from active service? Their plights must end one day!
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
- City Crime4 days ago
10 Offenders Convicted Under Anti-Piracy Law – NIMASA DG
- Politics4 days ago
PDP Rep Harps On Justice, Dialogue To Secure Nigeria
- Politics4 days ago
NUJ Hails Wike As Pride Of Democracy In Nigeria
- Politics4 days ago
Ex-APC National Chairman Tasks Party On Responsive Leadership
- Sports4 days ago
Is Musa’s Super Eagles Career Fading?
- Politics4 days ago
‘No Man Would Have Done What Wike Has Done’
- News4 days ago
Etche Diaspora Donates Equipment To Six Hospitals
- Politics4 days ago
Makinde Denies APC Defection Rumours