Retirees in Lagos State on Tuesday in Lagos commended the state government for its commitment of paying them promptly.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the state government had consistently ensured that contributions are remitted into Retired Savings Account (RSA) since 2007, when the state subscribed to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
NAN reports that the Director-General of Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), Mrs Folashade Onanuga at 12th retirement benefit documentation seminar held on June 7 said the state had expended N28.5 billion on 6, 509 pensioners in the last two years.
Adenuga said that a total of N62 billion had been paid into RSA of about 13,675 retirees since the commencement of the payment of entitlements in the CPS in 2007.
Mr Olusesin Oluwakemi, a former staff of the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Woman Affairs said he was initially displeased when the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was introduced.
“Later I discovered the idea is a way to help the retirees.
“The process of payments is now better unlike before, if you retired, you cannot sleep,“ he said.
Oluwakemi pointed out that most retirees before 2009 could no longer afford to take care of themselves because they were owed their gratuities and pensions.
“Those building houses and have children in universities as the retirees could not get their gratuities and if they ever did, they will get it probably two years after retirement, “ he said.
She noted that the scenario had changed since Gov. Raji Fashola’s administration and up till date, the state government paid promptly.
“Once a retiree processes his or her documents on time, the gratuity will be paid on time and the monthly payments will be regular,“ he said.
He said that challenges might surface when pensioners do not put things in place before retirement.
“Like not upgrading RSA accounts and documentation of needed papers for processing gratuity, will make some pensioners have problems.’’
Mrs Adeyemi Jeminat, an ex-staff of the Ministry of Lands and Survey also commended the state government for holding retirees in high esteem.
“It is only Lagos State that holds retirement documentation seminar to ensure retirees peacefully enjoy their retirement lives.
“I also use this opportunity to commend the D-G of LASPEC, Mrs Onanuga on efforts of ensuring that Lagos state retirees are enjoying their lives in retirement.
“She achieved total government commitments to the welfare of the retirees with directives that all ministries and agencies ensure employees are promptly credited,’’ she said.
According to her, Lagos remains the only state that fully complies with the provisions of the Pension Reform Law as it relates to contributions remittances.
She said that pensioners in the last era were not enjoying like now, as Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode had been doing well, especially for the Teaching Service Commission.
Mr Olusosun Saheed, who worked with Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), praised Ambode on the innovations developed to facilitate gratuity and pension remittances.
He said that the governor’s investment in the LASPEC on e-environment to ensure the commission delivered seamless service was commendable.
“Through this, the commission has been able to introduce the Employees Retirement Evaluation System (ERES) to aid and facilitate the benefit payment system.
“The software is to hasten the process of computing the past service benefits of retirees with minimal human intervention and zero per cent error rate,’’ he said.
He also commended Ambode’s perfection of the electronic archiving records of finalising the Retiree Identification Card Issuance process.