By Nana Musa
Abuja, May 5, 2022 The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), said that workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are not entitled to the pension increase of 33 per cent.
Mr Gbenga Ajayi, PTAD’s Head of Corporate Communications, said in a statement on Thursday in Abuja that the PHCN pensioners were already on a special salary structure before the pension review for pensioners was approved.
Ajayi said that the clarification was necessary as the attention of PTAD Management had been drawn to a growing agitation by some group of PHCN Pensioners, known as concerned PHCN Pensioners.
He said that the group is alleging that PTAD had colluded with some “powerful individuals” to deprive them of the 33 per cent pension increment as approved by the Federal Government in 2010.
“We would like to state unequivocally, that the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, the Federal Government agency responsible for policy statement on emoluments including pensions had directed via a letter of approval Ref: SWC/S/04/S.542/26 of September 26, 2014, that the retired staff of the defunct PHCN are not entitled to the pension increase of 33 per cent.
“This is because PHCN pensioners were already on a special salary structure before the pension review for Pensioners who, while in service, were on one of the Harmonized Salary Structures of the Federal Public Service.
“It should be noted that PHCN Pensioners took the Federal Government to the National Industrial Court (NIC) Abuja on this issue.
“After several engagements, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the implementation of 9.7 per cent increase in the pensions of Ex-PHCN Retirees under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS).
“This approval was used as an out-of-court settlement in order to put an end to the suit at the NIC, Abuja.” Ajayi said.
He said that following the approval of the President, via approval letter Ref. SWC/S/04/S.557/III/546) of May 7, 2021, the 9.7 per cent increment was implemented with effect from June 1, 2016 and the arrears paid in December 2021 to all eligible Ex-PHCN Retirees.
Ayayi said that it was therefore preposterous and uncalled for that the group wanted to conveniently forget the amicable agreement reached by all parties and arm-twist the Federal Government to make claims on the 33 per cent pension increment.
He said that other related issues concerning the group of pensioners have since been communicated to the Coordinator of the Concerned PHCN Pensioners, Mr Dunmoye Oladimeji, via a letter dated March 17, 2021, with Ref: (PTAD/PaPD/231/VolII/263).
“PTAD will continue to give priority to the welfare of Defined Benefit Scheme Pensioners,” Ajayi said, adding that President Buhari remains committed to the welfare of pensioners and has consistently demonstrated that by approving the payment of outstanding pension arrears and regular payment of monthly pensions.