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Pensioners’ Kick Over Differences In PFA, Annuity

Posted: Jun 16, 2015 at 7:11 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oyeniran Apata –  Lagos

 

Pensioners in Lagos State have threatened to disengage Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) from the management of their retirement benefits over what they called poor payment and unsatisfactory provisions of the Programme Withdrawal payment system of the administrators.

This was the consensus at a post-retirement interactive seminar over the weekend jointly organised by Trade Union Congress (TUC), Lagos chapter in partnership with African Alliance Insurance for retirees who have received their bond in the past 5 years.

At the event which held at the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) Secretariat, Anthony, the pensioners frowned at the provisions of the Programme Withdrawal arrangement that only guarantee payment of retirement benefits for a period after which it will cease.

They blamed governments and organisations for forcing the PFAs on workers and in the end short-changed elderly statesmen from what is due to them for a period against a life time provision under the Annuity offered by insurance companies.

In an interview with Daily Independent at the end of the enlightenment programme, Pa Olatunde Adeneye, a retiree from the Local Government Service Commission in the state, lamented that his fund managers (name withheld) have short changed him long enough and threatened to effect a switchover as soon as possible as the law provides.

However, it was a different ball game for both Mrs. Funmi Ayodele, a retiree from the State Ministry of Education and Madam Bola Obadagun who are presently on the annuity programme managed by different insurance companies approved by the government of Lagos State.

On her part Madam Ayodele said she was opportune to have been on the annuity courtesy of proper enlightenment by her kid brother who is in the insurance sector, while Madam Obadagun on her part said she had to switchover to annuity.

Obadagun said, “Am on annuity now. I was with a PFA before. A friend lectured me on the difference of the two payment systems and I went for annuity. As a level 15 retiree my former PFA paid me N45, 000 and now that I am on annuity my insurance pay N65, 000. So, you can see that it is a difference of N20, 000. Haba! this is much.

“This enlightenment has been an eye opener to retirees of Lagos State. Those coming behind us should also be given this enlightenment so that they can know the difference and not fall into the hands of people who will short change them in the payment of their pension for a period,” she stated.

Also, another retiree from the Ministry of Environment, Mrs Esther Orunja who lamented that she never took the difference of the two payment options serious as explained by a friend told Daily Independent she would switch over now that she was convinced about the level of sincerity of insurance companies.

“This is good because I have seen retiree of the old order suffered to get what rightly belonged to them as they retire. I think the present pension arrangement is open enough because it is easier to manage. I want to go into annuity now,” she added.

TUC Chairman in the State, Comrade Hakeem Kazzem told Daily Independent that the enlightenment became necessary in view of the need to assist the retirees in the management of their payments and to live healthy life after retirement and promised to extend same to retirees from other sectors.

He said, “We observed that the two programmes are good. After 60 years in service if under programme withdrawal a pensioner is only guaranteed payment of pension for 10 or 15 years where a retiree is not entitled to any payment and under the annuity the programme says you are entitled to payment for a life time, don’t you think it is wise to move over because the law provides for such”.

Apparently not forcing retiree to switch over, the TUC Chairman who said though it was the wish of everyone to live long, however stated that it was left for those that think their health condition cannot guarantee longer life to decide.

The Assistant State Secretary of the Union, Comrade Kazeem Labaika explained that the objective of the seminar was to enlighten retired civil servants in the state as a way of feeling their pulse and find out how they have been managing their resources and surviving after retirement.

He stated that the programme became necessary because a good number of the retirees were not well informed on the management of their pension and thus some fall into the hands dubious PFAs and insurance companies too.

Labaika urged Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPENCOM) to take it upon itself to invite all stakeholders in charge of pension when issuing out bonds, contending that the complaints of the pensioners would be documented and presented to the government for adjustment and implementation