RSHA Assures Pensioners Of Better Days Ahead

Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, held a public hearing to reform the pension law of the state.

The Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, held a public hearing to reform the pension law of the state, as it assured pensioners that henceforth they will start enjoying their retirement benefits as at when due.
This follows the presentation of an executive bill tagged Rivers State Pension Reform Bill 2019(HA23) to the House, penultimate week.
Speaker of the Assembly, Rt Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, in his remarks, urged the pensioners to have hope in the government, insisting that the Rivers State House of Assembly was duty bound to synergize with the executive to better the lives of the people.
He noted that one of the defects that the bill seeks to address was to make it possible for pensioners to access their pensions even when the government has not contributed theirs.
The Chairman of the Committee on SSG, Head of Service and Pension, Hon. Benibo Anabraba described the bill as a good one that will better the lives of pensioners in the state, and expressed the commitment of the House to making laws for the good of Rivers people and those resident in the state.
Also speaking, Rivers State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Barrister Zachaeus Adango said, with the new law in place, government would no longer bear total responsibility of funding pensions.
“Under the former scheme, government was solely responsible for funding pension, but under this scheme, responsibility and is shared between government and the employees, so you must be prepared to commit your monthly emolument towards saving for your pension,” he said.
The attorney general posited that retirees would only have to earn according to the level of their contribution and the return on their investment.
On her part, Chairperson of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC),Rivers State Council, Comrade Beatrice Itubo, described the bill as a good one, but lamented the failure of government to contribute its own part of the pension, which according to her, constitutes a major challenge in the scheme.
“But what we are seeing is that our leaders have not gotten the political will to implement their own part of the bargain,” Itubo stated.
She also solicited for the implementation of the accrued pension rights for civil servants to make it possible for civil servants who were not in the contributory pension arrangement to, at least, benefit something upon retirement.
Also, a member of the Association of Civil Servants in the state, Comrade Sam Chikwere, who disclosed that over N70billion was being owed pensioners in the state, urged the government to scrap the entire contributory pension scheme.
He said, “because there is no sincerity on the part of government, government lacks the capacity to manage this pension, we are saying that the scheme should be scrapped forthwith”.
A representative of the National Pension Commission, Murtala Mohammed Modibo said the commission, which regulates pension matters in the country, has established an institutional framework to ensure a sound and sustainable pension industry in the country, noting that the commission has engaged states in guiding them in the implementation of pensions operations.
While adding that since government can no longer fund pensions alone, he said that certain amounts should be deducted at source from the salaries of civil servants for pension.
He also lamented the lack of commitment on the part of government towards implementation of the pension law.