Fashola Presents Retirement Bond Certificates To Another 471 Retirees
…Tasks workers still in service to rededicate themselves to productive activities
Oct 21, 2011 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Friday handed over retirement bond certificates to the fourth batch of 471 retirees in the State Public Service, tasking employees still in service to re-dedicate themselves into productive activities that will yield more resources and revenues to enable Government sustain he payments and respond to other social services.
Governor Fashola who spoke while addressing the beneficiaries at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa urged workers to shun any form of disruption of work especially through strikes.
"It is only by being functional that we can continue to respond to the present welfare needs of our workers and prepare for their future needs which will ensure many more of this type of bond presentation ceremonies". Governor Fashola said.
The Governor stated that although the ceremony represents the fourth in the series of presentation of Retirement Bond Certificates, the third and fourth in the series of the events have been the most challenging for the State Government.
He noted that at the onset of the agitation for increased wages which resulted in the enactment of a minimum wage law of N18, 000,00 very little was heard from commentators during the debates about the impact that the new wage will have on the pension obligations of each State.
"It would seem that many commentators had overlooked the fact that Nigeria had adopted a compulsory Contributory Pension Scheme that imposes an obligation on Government to contribute 7.5percent of the employees salary into a retirement savings account", he said
The Lagos State helmsman explained that Lagos State was always mindful of the obligation hence the State became not only the first State to start the payment of the minimum even before the law was passed, it has also not defaulted on the payment of its 7.5percent to its employees.
"The commitment to the present and future welfare of our workers has not come easy. It has increased our outgoings for personnel and recurrent costs by over N2.4Billion per month even though we have not seen such commensurate increases in our revenue", he explained.
The Governor said though he still sees reports in the media of some people who go through pains to get their pensions in some places, in Lagos State a new dawn in Pensions has emerged.
"Today, the total employee and State's contributions credited into the retirement savings account of all employees under the Contributory Pension Scheme as at September 2011, stands at Twenty Six billion, Two Hundred and Ninety Two Millon, Four Hundred and Eighty One Thousand, One Hundred and Eighty Three Naira Only (N26,292,481,183)".
"The first set of Retirement Bond Certificates was issued to 142 retirees in October, 2010. By July 2011, a total number of 650 Retirement Bond Certificates had been issued and amount of N3,536,538,651.06 had been credited into the Retirement Savings Accounts, being accrued pension rights made up of gratuity and pension entitlements of the retirees for years spent in public service before the 31st of March,2007 when we transited into the Contributory Pension Scheme".
"The Retirement savings account of the then retiring employees was made up of the pension and gratuity entitlement under the old scheme, the contributions made by them and the State Government up till their exit date, plus the accrued interest", Governor Fashola explained.
He expressed delight that the 650 retirees have commenced the receipt of monthly income and have collected their lump sum which enabled them to be financially empowered to embark on small or medium scale enterprises, adding that from reports reaching him some of the retirees have ventured into various businesses, recruiting personnel.
Said he: "These reports ginger us to continue to strive to improve on our efficiency level so that we will get to that point where at retirement, by the following month, the retiree will become an active pensioner. I rejoice with all the retirees here today because, you are about to join the league of financially empowered retirees".
"In this batch 4 exercise, a total number of 471 retirees will have their retirement savings accounts credited with the accrued rights. The value of accrued rights which has already been redeemed into the Retirement Savings Account of these retirees is Two Billion, Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty even Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty One Naira, Thirty Six Kobo only".
Governor Fashola disclosed that in total, the State has redeemed Retirement Bonds of Five Billion, Eight Hundred and Twenty Four Million, Three Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Ninety Two Naira, Forty Kobo Only (N5,824,325,892.42) into the retirement savings account of 1,121 retirees.
He said in spite of the successes recorded, there are still some challenges to overcome with some Pension Fund Administrators to ensure that the process of the retirees access to the RSA balance is seamless.
"We are working tirelessly to ensure that those of the Pension Fund Administrators that are yet to match our service expectations do so; because, your comfort is our joy and we will not be satisfied until we ensure that the peace you deserve in old age is not compromised by any operator who by law, is supposed to make life easy for you", he added.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of the Lagos State Pension Commission, Mr Rotimi Hussain said the commission regularly monitors the activities of the six Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) who manage the Retirement Savings Accounts of all employees and meets regularly with all stakeholders in the state in a bid to obtain feedback on the activities of the pension operators.
He added that the Contributory pension scheme has a full funding structure as contributions are religiously made monthly by the State Government into the retirement Savings Account which employees opened with Pension Administrators of their choice.
Mr Hussain said the State Government has also carried out an actuarial valuation exercise to determine the past service liabilities of employees who had been in service before the commencement of the contributory pension scheme and had accrued pension rights made up of gratuity and pension entitlements up to 31st March, 2007 when the State transited into the new scheme.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe congratulated all the retirees for being counted worthy of receiving their entitlements after serving the State meritoriously.
He also expressed the appreciation of the entire workforce of the Lagos State public service to the Governor for his commitment to the welfare of the workers at all times.
The Governor later made a symbolic presentation of the retirement bond to some of the retirees including Mrs Abiodun Modupe Amoke, Mrs Abimbola Omolara, Mr Abubakar Azeez, Mrs Adaramaja Bolanle and Mrs Adegoke Omowunmi amongst several others.
Notable among those who attended the event were the Deputy Governor, Hon. (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, members of the State Executive Council, the retirees and senior government functionaries.