By Akwashiki Abiola
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) on Sunday demandded the upwards review of minimum pension to N30.000 to pensioners in the country.
National President of NUP, Dr. Abel Afolayan who made the appealed during a visit to the Acting chairman of National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Ekpo NtaI said the called for upward review became necessary as most pensioners in the country earn less than N5000 per month.
He said the delegation were in the office to know the stands of retirees, after the agreement signed on the new minimum wage as well as the consequential adjustment of the N30.000 new wage.
“The issue is that the vast majority of pensioners, it is the token they received they rely on for survival. With the workers, the tension has died down with the agreement reached and the percentage consequential adjustments increase, but with the pensioners, the tension is high, and if don’t have anything tangible to present to them or tell them at our meeting next wee, in Ibadan, there will be problems.
“We still have people earning N2,000, some are earning N10,000. Vast majority of pensioners in this country earn N10,000 below. It is people in this category that are agitating on what is happening to us. And I don’t want a situation whereby they will say the National President and other national officers are comfortable.
“That is why we decided to come here.That is what I am saying, the templates, the structure, the table that will be implemented. We are aware that it is the responsibility of National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission.
“When that goes on, we want to know when our own work will start on our table and how our own table will be worked out, and whether or not we will be involved in the discussions and negotiations on our table because during the last exercise, after the workers’ own had been settled, a committee had to be set up to work out the table for pensioners.
One of us is a member of the committee that worked it out and it took a long time after the table for the workers had been approved before our own. It is only early this year that the last payment of the month by month of the 33% arrears was paid. We don’t want that to happen this time around. And one compelling reason that we are here is because we are holding our national meeting in Ibadan next week”.
The Acting chairman of NSIWC, Ekpo NtaI in his response called for policy in both Federal States and Local Government on how best to take care of pensioners in the country.
He also advocates for a reform in the nation pension administration so as to ensure senior citizens are well taken care of.
“This is the time we should have a major reform in our pension administration concerning the pensioners. There must be total u-turn of pension management in the country.It is a huge repository of funds, and you must be abreast of what is happening.
“Certain per cent is being deducted from the pensioners salary when they were working, and must know how this fund is being spent.You should not be asking for peanuts because if you don’t do it not, the problem that will come will be worst than the past.I agreed entirely with you, what I am saying is that it would be done but it is not enough.
“As far as I am concern it is not enough, we must have a policy from local government to the Federal Government on how to take care of our senior citizens. It must be integrated, it must have a health care which must be part of it, must have a minimal condition under which the pensioners must exist.
“If for workers it is N30,000 then you must also define what a minimum earning pensioners should get. They don’t see things the way some of us see it, if a pensioner goes to hospital, he would occupy the hospital bed longer than the young person.
“I know that the government is already working on it. That one, I think it is being addressed because all along the negotiations it has always been in consideration, and it was asked at the Federal Executive Council (FEC), so everybody is aware that it must be done.
“The man in Budget is fully aware of that, the Director General Budget is fully aware of that. So, it is something the Pension Commission is going to be part of the process, and PTAD too is also going to be part of it.Everybody is aware during negotiation on the minimum wage and its consequential adjustment that there must be corresponding increase for pensioners and we shouldn’t wait for agitation again before we do that”.
NUP Demands N30.000 Minimum Pension
By Akwashiki Abiola