FG may raise workers’ pensions in 2024 – Wages Commission

Date:

Pensioners in the federal civil service may get a raise in their pension stipends next year based on details contained in the report on the harmonisation of pensions submitted to the Federal Government by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

It was gathered that the raise would be for Federal Government pensioners under the new pension scheme as well as for those in the previous scheme.

The NSIWC told the executive committee of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners that the commission was following up on the report it submitted to the Federal Government as regards the pensions of retirees.

The pensioners, led by their Chairman, Samuel Adewale, paid a courtesy visit on the Chairman of the wages commission, Ekpo Nta, where NSIWC boss answered some of their questions, according to a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the Head of the commission’s Press Unit, Emmanuel Njoku.

The statement read in part, “The chairman of the commission informed his guests that the commission had forwarded to the government sometime in May 2023, its report on the harmonisation of pensions for consideration after synthesising inputs from relevant stakeholders, including pension unions, and the availability of funds, and that the commission was regularly following this up since it would have a bearing in considering pension increases in 2024.”

When contacted to provide further explanation on the development, Njoke said, “The raise is going to be in accordance with the negotiated minimum wage for Federal Government workers both in the current and previous pension schemes.”

In response to the pensioners’ complaints of non-receipt of the payment of the recently approved palliatives, the NSIWC chairman, according to the statement, noted that the relevant organs of government were addressing the issues.

The commission stated that the Chairman, Committee on Pension NUP-ASU/Parastals, Gabriel Oladele, who was among the delegates, urged the NWISC to intervene in the wrong computation of their consequential adjustments and the unreasonable deductions from their pensions after decades of enjoying same.

In his reaction, Nta said the commission would look into the two issues based on the documents the union had submitted.

He further told his guests that the commission’s circulars were usually issued after wide consultations with major stakeholders including the Federal Government.

He said the circulars had provisions for anyone to seek for clarification, as no agency was authorised to unilaterally amend them without the NWISC’s written consent.

“Usually, where there is cogent reason, a crossed-reference clarification circular is issued by the commission after due process for record purposes,” the NWISC stated in its statement.

It said the chairman further explained that the commission, being the secretariat of the Tripartite Committee of the National Minimum Wage, would ensure seamless preparations for the consideration of both a new national minimum wage and the accompanying pension review in 2024 as provided by the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 and Section 173(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

“In response to a pensioner’s observation that the constitution provides for a ‘corresponding increase in pensions,’ he (NWISC chairman) stated that the word ‘corresponding’ was not used in Section 173(3). He further clarified that increases in allowances for serving officers cannot also be interpreted as increases in salaries,” the NWISC stated.

Nta further advised the union to negotiate with friendly Health Maintenance Organisations to provide affordable health insurance covers for their members after explaining how they could benefit from such services.

He urged the senior citizens, to in future, avail themselves of having scheduled free online zoom meetings with him, instead of embarking on expensive and hazardous trips from all over the country given their ages.

Source: The Punch

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