Fashola Pays Retirees N1.7b

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Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola today presented retirement bond certificates worth N1.7 billion to 350 civil servants who retired from the civil service recently.

The money was disbursed into the Retirement Savings Accounts of the 350 retirees while the governor officially presented their bond certificates to them today at the event held at the NECA Building, Alausa in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

Presenting the certificates to the beneficiaries, Fashola said the main objective of the scheme was to ensure that retirement benefits were paid as and when due in order to ensure comfort of retirees in retirement.

He stated that since the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme, the government had chosen to pioneer the implementation of a pension policy that would secure the future of public servants.

“While there will always be room for improvement of the process, I am proud to assert that issues of malpractice are fading into a distant memory in our state’s pension administration. We have demonstrated the greatest commitment to the success of the scheme,” said Fashola, whose speech was read by the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

The governor disclosed that as at January 2012, the total employee and state’s contribution credited into the Retirement Savings Account of all employees under the Contributory Pension Scheme since inception of the scheme stood at N29.38 billion.

“Also, redemption of Retirement Bond Certificates which commenced in the state in October 2010 with the payment of N412.8 million to the first batch of 103 retirees grew to N5.8 billion when the fourth batch of 471 retirees were paid in October 2011.

“Today, with the payment of N1.7 billion being made, the total retirement bond certificates redeemed so far has risen to N7.5 billion to a total of 1,471 retirees. This is a clear demonstration of the unwavering commitment of the Lagos State Government to the well-being of those that have so diligently served the state,” he added.

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Fashola said section 4 of the Pension Reform Law provides two alternative exit options for retirees, which he said were Programmed Withdrawal by the Pension Fund Administrations, PFAs and Annuity for Life by Insurance Companies.

“It has, however, come to light that the majority of those who have retired so far under the scheme have embraced the programmed withdrawal while just a few opted for the annuity for life,” he stated.

He stated that as part of efforts to create awareness on the authorised withdrawal option, the government, through the Lagos State Pension Commission, LASPEC organised pre-retirement seminar for all those that would retire between January and June 2012.

Speaking, the Director-General, LASPEC, Mr. Rotimi Hussain, said the commission had continued to work assiduously to ensure that the state’s retirees enjoyed a life of financial independence, saying that seminar had been organised for intending retirees.

According to him, the idea behind the seminar arose from the observation that despite the level of enlightenment and awareness programmes by the commission, some workers were still not conversant with the operation of the Contributory Pension Scheme.

“The main objective therefore, was to help workers come to terms with life in retirement and help them prepare for their physical, emotional and financial well-being in retirement,” he stated.

He urged the retirees to invest their money in lucrative ventures and avoid spending on frivolities, bearing in mind the economic situation of the country.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga

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