The Kaduna state government has started the payment of pension and gratuities to retirees in the public service.
The state government also pledged to settle inherited arrears of pension and gratuity of the civil servants since 2011, totalling N15 billion.
Expectedly, the retirees have commended Governor Nasir El-Rufai for prompt payment of their pensions and gratuities benefits under the new Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
Speaking during the launch of payment of pension benefits under the revamped Contributory Pension Scheme, governor El-Rufai, said the interest of the pensioner and the sustainability of government pension obligations were uppermost in his mind when government championed the passage of the Kaduna State Pension Reform Law 2016.
The governor explained that over the years, the pension system had been a nightmare for the pensioner, a heavy strain and fraud-prone burden on the resources of government.
He added: “We do not think it is fair that the pensioner should face delays in payment or be subjected to the perennial stress of physical verification, often in arduous conditions. Of course, we conducted our own verification of pensioners and were not surprised to find ghost pensioners whom we proceeded to knock off the payroll.”
El-Rufai said: “But we knew that we needed new legal and institutional arrangements to manage public sector pensions. We were concerned about the huge size of the inherited arrears of pension and gratuity of almost
N15bn. And the fiscal challenges many states have faced since the collapse of the oil price, with many unable to pay even current workers, meant that the agony of pensioners may worsen without reform”.
“And the untidy arrangement we met on ground indicated a stillborn hybrid that operated on the defined benefits platform while keeping a poorly-implemented contributory pension scheme on the books.
“That is why we passed the new pension reform law, and appointed actuaries to assess the pension liabilities that have accrued. With the Contributory Pension Scheme now effective in the state since 1 January 2017, retirees can now transit from being workers in January, to recipients of pension payments in February”.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Kaduna recipients who collected retirement exit letters under the state new Contributory Pension Scheme, Salami Muhammed, urged the governor to continue with his good work and maintained good industrial relationship with workers.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, State Pension Bureau, Dr Dan Ndackson, said: “As we commence the payment of pension benefits under the Contributory Pension Scheme in Kaduna State today, Tuesday, we are hopeful that this would mark the beginning of the end to delays in accessing pension benefits in Kaduna State.”