By Dipo Olowookere
The management of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has assured pensioners of the privatised NITEL/MTEL would soon begin to receive their payments.
This assurance was given in a statement issued by the agency on Friday, September 7, 2018, in reaction to a press statement issued by the Association of Former Telecoms Employees of Nigeria (ATEN), claiming that PTAD and the Federal Ministry of Finance had submitted and defended “huge amount of money” for the payment of monthly pension to ex-workers of company, suggesting that the action was “illegal and against the law.”
According to PTAD, during its verification exercise in February 2018, about 15,212 NITEL/MTEL pensioners were verified, following the approval granted by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on February 10, 2017 for the enrolment of eligible pensioners of 10 defunct/privatized agencies including NITEL.
Mrs Adeosun’s approval followed the unrelenting agitation by representatives of the various pension groups for enrolment into ‘Pension for Life.’
According to PTAD, before this year’s exercise, it made it abundantly clear that its mandate was to verify and enrol eligible pensioners for the purpose of payment of monthly pension, in conformity with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act (2014).
“This was what the Directorate did in the cases of Delta Steel Company (DSC), Nigeria Reinsurance, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), NICON Insurance and Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) civilians.
“PTAD is also on the verge of enrolling eligible pensioners of NITEL/MTEL. The current campaign of disinformation being perpetrated by the fringe group will, therefore, not distract PTAD from meeting this noble objective, nor will it distract from the Directorate’s ability of improving the welfare of pensioners,” the agency said.
PTAD noted that during the February 2018 exercise, from the 15,212 total verified NITEL/MTEL pensioners, 9,198 were the eligible pensioners computed (to be put on payroll), 3,233 were not eligible for pensions (served less than 10 years), while 1,385 were asked to provide additional information required for processing, with the same number of people, 1,385 fell under NoKs.
However, when Business Post made a summation of these figures given by PTAD, it was short of 11 and efforts made to reach PTAD for this discrepancy were futile.
But in the statement, the agency said the basis for computation was eligibility, salary structure and pensionable allowances.
It said those qualified for pension were workers who had spent a minimum of 10 years of service by September 30, 2006 (date of privatization), used NITEL salary structure received from Federal Ministry of Communications and Bureau of Public Enterprises.
PTAD further said federal government approved rates of increment were applied based on date of retirement 150% with effect from 1/1/1999, 30% with effect from 1/1/2000, 142% with effect from 1/5/2000, 6% with effect from 1/10/2003, 15% with effect from 1/1/2007, and 33% with effect from 1/7/2010.
“All computations are subjected to clearance by Resident Auditors from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF).
“Please note that the Directorate’s immediate priority is to put the eligible NITEL/MTEL pensioners on payroll for the payment of monthly pension
“The payment of monthly pension to eligible NITEL/MTEL pensioners will commence soon. All accumulated arrears will also be settled as soon as possible.
“All those who do not qualify under extant laws will be informed individually,” the agency said in the statement.
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