11th October, 2018
Anambra Government says it is set to implement the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) at the state level with the payment of its contributions to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
Mr Harry Udu, Head of Service (HoS) in the state, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Wednesday.
Harry said that the scheme had effectively taken off at the local government level but was delayed at the state level due to issues to be addressed.
Labour in Anambra alleged that government was not remitting its share of the fund while it continued to deduct from workers’ salaries.
Mr Jerry Nnubia, Chairman Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who addressed newsmen on Oct. 8, called for refund of workers’ contribution and scrapping of the scheme.
But the HoS said the call was uninformed as the reason for non take off was known to stakeholders and that the committee set up to address them had submitted its report.
He said that it would have taken off in July 2017 but blamed the delay on agitation by labour which led Gov. Willie Obiano to suspend it to enable him to address the issues.
“It is not true that there are irregularities in the Anambra CPS; the law was enacted in 2014 and pursuance to that law, two amendments have been made in furtherance of its implementation.
“The local government system has religiously been deducting both at the employer and the employee sides but there were challenges at the state level which was acknowledged by all.
“But some challenges are being addressed to the knowledge of labour leaders; the issues were referred to the Special Committee on Labour which is headed by the deputy governor.
That committee looked at it and made recommendations with inputs from pension fund administrators, Pension Commission and labour and government.
The governor will make pronouncement on the recommendations made soon and I can assure you that the money for the employer component of the fund is ready.
“The Accountant General has addressed the issue of identification number of contributors and he has assured me that by Monday, Oct. 15, the alerts will begin to hit the various accounts.
Their fears or allegation of fraud is unfounded, they predicated the call to scrap it on somethings but those processes are on, so it does not arise, I don’t know where the anxiety comes from,” he said.
Udu said CPS was the best option that guaranteed the payment of benefits of retires against the Pay As You Go which depended on the benevolence of the government in power.
According to him, it is a fully funded pension scheme as against the old system which depends on unstable factor.
“For now CPS is the way to go, not the old scheme which everybody knows is not sustainable, it is responsible for arrears of gratuity of retired local government workers and primary school teachers.
“We are fortunate to have a compassionate governor who is interested in the welfare of workers; there was a time when workers were on strike for one year,” he said.
The HoS said the governor had made pronouncements on inequality of pay for workers on the same salary scale in the local government and state services.
He said what was left is for the Local Government Service Commission to effect the policy.