Retirees under the aegis of the National Association of PENCOM Retirees, captured under the contributory pension scheme have asked the National Assembly (NASS) to include them in the Pension Reform Act 2014 (Amendment) bill, 2022 now before it.
The call is contained in a statement signed by the Interim Coordinator of the body, Jude Owuamanam and made available to newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State’s capital Sunday.
The pensioners are agitating that it would amount to injustice if they were not paid the balance of 50 per cent.
•Demand increased lump sum
The pensioners argued that, some of them were paid peanuts as 25 per cent lump – payment that could barely solve the basic needs after retirement while some were paid over 25 per cent, but less than 75 per cent and some others have their savings accounts pilfered by pension fund administrators.
Owuamanam said, “When some of us retired, our entire contributions were so small that the 25 per cent lump payment amounted to nothing really. Some of us could not meet the basic needs after retirement. For instance, some of us were building retirement homes and had hoped to use the lump payment to complete it, but you find out that the money could not do much. What a retiree needed most is where to retire to and that is shelter.
“Again the monthly payment can hardly last for few days. But if we get enough lump payment, we can deploy to starting some business or any other use.
“We have more than N13 trillion in pension fund assets and it makes no sense that owners of this money live in penury while the pension fund administrators live big. They are using our money for their own business while we starve. We are therefore pleading that that not only the amendment be passed, we should also be included in the new bill”.
•Amended bill underway
The new bill, which is due for second reading, seeks to make funds in the contributory pension scheme more accessible to pensioners by increasing the lump payment from 25 to 75 per cent.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Aliyu Wamako, representing Sokoto North under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).