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No Embezzlement In Pension Fund – DG

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Empowerment equipment to be distributed by Ibadan South-West Local Government council in Ibadan.

Empowerment equipment to be distributed by Ibadan South-West Local Government council in Ibadan.

Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has said it had plugged sources of misappropriation of pension funds in the agency.
Director-General of PTAD, Mrs Nellie Mayshak, made this known at the Sensitisation Workshop for Treasury Funded Parastatals and their Pensions Board of Trustees it organised in Abuja.
Mayshak recalled that before the establishment of the directorate by the Federal Government in 2013, the administration of pension funds in the country was plagued by cases of embezzlement.
She explained that PTAD was established to cater for pensioners under the old pension scheme of Pay as You Earn (PAYE).
“There has not been a single incident of misappropriation of pension funds since PTAD was established and there will never be.
“What has contributed to this is that we have put in systems that have completely eliminated pension officials from physically accessing pension funds.
“Every payment is done electronically through ‘GIFMIS’, from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation,” she said.
Mayshak said that for the electronic payment to be effective and sustain its transparency, pensioners needed to submit their correct account details.
She said that the directorate had put mechanism in place to track and solve non-payment problems often raised by pensioners, and stressed the need to obtain data of every existing pensioner under the old scheme.
“I did not inherit any data base of pensioners when I came into office. Currently, we have a lot of challenges with the payroll we are using to pay pensioners.
In his speech, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni, urged PTAD to establish call centres for easy enquiries and feedback from pensioners.
Goni, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Common Services in his office, Mr Yemi Adelakun, said, “the time when people have to travel all the way from Maiduguri, Calabar, to Abuja just for information is over
“President Jonathan, during the World Pensions Summit advocated for immediate digitisation of the pension administration.
Also speaking, the President, National Union of Pensioners, Dr Abel Afolayan, said that the establishment of PTAD had revived pensioners’ hope in the administration of pension funds in the country.
He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for establishing PTAD, saying, “it will go down in history that the president is pensioners friendly.
“I am glad to note that this programme will be held in the six geo-political zones,” he said, adding that it would give PTAD the opportunity to get first-hand information on pensioners’ plight.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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