Posted by News Express | 26 August 2015 | 5,277 times
The Military Pensions Board has begun payment of 33 per cent pension arrears to military pensioners.
The Chairman of the board, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Dabo, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, the payment started in the first quarter of 2015.
Dabo, however, stated that the arrears were paid in installments as the Federal Government lacked sufficient funds to make full payment.
“What the government said is that they don’t have the money to pay all at once.
“Earlier this year, government made provisions for the 2015 arrears and that payment will be done on quarterly basis.
“We have paid the 33 per cent arrears for first, second and third quarters of 2015, what remains for this year is the last quarter.”
He recalled that only 33 per cent increment was approved for the pensioners in 2010 when salaries and wages of federal civil servants and military personnel were consolidated, and not 53 per cent as agitated for by pensioners.
The board chairman explained that the increment was in line with Section 173(3) of the 1999 Constitution, stating that anytime salaries and wages of workers were increased; those of pensioners should also be increased.
“All along pensioners felt that their salaries needed to be increased by 53 per cent.
“The constitution did not say that when salary of workers is increased the pension of pensioners should be increased at the same rate.
“However, in August 2013 the federal government started paying the pension increment by only 33 per cent.
“So, if they started paying in August 2013, what happened between July 2010 and July 2013?”
Dabo said the board had yet to confirm when the outstanding balance of two years (July 2010 to July 2013) would be paid.
He, however, expressed optimism that the new administration would continue with the payment of the arrears.
“We have a new government now and I am sure the plight of the retirees will be looked into.
“I believe that this government can only do better. This is because if the arrangement of paying quarterly is still on and is still honoured by the new government and if there is any window of opportunity to improve on, it will be implemented.”
He also said that only military pensioners that had retired before July 2010 when the salaries and wages were consolidated were entitled to the arrears.
“People that had retired and were on pension payroll as at July 2010 are entitled to the arrears.
“Anybody who was not on the pension payroll as at July 2010 is not entitled to it because they would have been enjoying based on the consolidated new salary.
“Their current pension or entitlement is based on the new salary scale that they have enjoyed.”
NAN recalls that military pensioners in March 2015 protested the reduction in pension arrears from 53 per cent to 33 per cent and non-payment of the reduced rate.
The military pensions board is responsible for the administration of pension, death benefits and other entitlements to military pensioners. (NAN)
•Photo shows Chief of Defecne Staff, Maj.-Gen. A. G. Olonisakin.
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