Testifying at the public hearing on comprehensive investigation of payment of pensions and management and administration of pension funds in Nigeria, being conducted by the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment & Public Service and States & Local Government Administration, in Lagos, on Monday, Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Lagos State, Mrs Modupe Oguntuase, said the debts accrued from payments made by the state on behalf of the Federal Government to Lagos State retirees with Federal shares up to May, 2002 and deficit payments into the pensions fund for local governments in the state.
Giving a breakdown, Oguntuase said, while the sum of N1.1 billion was paid by the state civil service pensions office to the retirees between January, 1999 and May, 2002, the federal government failed to contribute monthly five per cent of the personnel emoluments of active local government staff.
According to her, “between 1999-2002, the Lagos State government paid N3.2 billion; between 2003 and 2007, the state paid N5.2 billion while between 2008 and 2010, we paid out N1.7 billion,” she said.
She regretted that the local government pensions fund in Lagos was at present being financially stifled because of underpayment by the Federal Government pension office, stating that efforts by the state to get the Federal Government to reimburse the state government proved abortive.
In his opening address, the chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on Pension Investigation, Senator Alloysius Etok, said the motive behind the public hearing was targetted at getting solution to the plight of pensioners in the country.
He explained that the Senate is interested in finding lasting solutions to the challenges facing pension payment in Nigeria, adding that it would come out with an enduring framework to facilitate efficiency and management of pension system in Nigeria.
“We are set to address the agonizing and plight of pensioners who have worked hard for this country. They cannot be subjected to misery, sufferings and despair. We will address the grievances, complaints and observations and proffer solution. We are seeking to institutionalize prompt payment of pension through appropriate legislations,” he said.