N4.2bn pension arrears paid in two years: Lagos Commissioner

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FILE PHOTO: Pensions

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishments, Training Pension, Dr Abiodun Onayele; Special Adviser on Labour and Industrial Relation, Mr Babatunde Williams; Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle; Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso during the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions News Conference to Commemorate the 2nd Year in Office of Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s Administration, on Wednesday (26/05/21)

The Lagos State Government said it has paid over N4.2 billion to its pensioners, under the Defined Benefits Scheme, otherwise known as ‘Pay As You Go’, from May 2019 to March 2021.

The Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pension, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle made this known in Ikeja, at the 2021 Ministerial Press Briefing to commemorate the Second Anniversary of Gov. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

Ponnle said that as part of the state’s commitment to the welfare of pensioners, Gov. Sanwo-Olu had also approved payment of 33 per cent increment for all state pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme.

She said that the government also paid the balance of the 25 per cent rent allowance for officers on Grade Level 07 and above, who retired between May 2000 and Aug. 2004.

“There are currently 15 approved Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and seven approved insurance companies who render pension funds management and annuities services to retirees in the state.

“Today, Lagos State is a trailblazer and pacesetter in pension matters in Nigeria, having won awards as the most pension compliant in this dispensation, on several occasions,” the commissioner said.

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Ponnle said that as a policy, the ministry had always been interfacing with relevant stakeholders, such as the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Association of Retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries, among others, as part of measures to improve the lives of pensioners in the state.

“It would be recalled that the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), at its 11th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference recently honoured Gov. Sanwo-Olu.

“The governor was honoured with the distinguished award of ‘Excellence and Greater Commitment to Pensioner’s Welfare’. That means we are doing something right,” Ponnle said.

The commissioner said that when the second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the country in 2020, the state recommended vaccines for pensioners who were over 70 years in age.

Similarly, she said that the state government was working to introduce a health insurance scheme as well as a transportation scheme for the pensioners.