The federal government has weeded out 15,000 ghost pensioners and saved N2.1 billion in the last eight months following the establishment of an independent agency responsible for the management of federal pensions under the defined benefit scheme, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
This was disclosed by the coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the first PTAD stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, yesterday.
The occasion, which also witnessed the launch of a toll free call centre for pensioners to get easy access to information on their pensions was to enable the PTAD get feedback from all its stakeholders on its operations in the past year.
The minister, who expressed profound appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for his commitment to ongoing pension reforms in the country, said the significant savings recorded by the PTAD was made possible by the agency’s reliance on technology, which saw the removal of over 15,000 duplicate or ghost pensioners from its payroll as well as its commitment to entrench world class financial management practices in the management of pension funds in the country.
She said the efficiency gains recorded have enabled government to include an additional 1,354 pensioners from three liquidated steel rolling mills to be pay-rolled.She noted that Nigeria’s pensions system had become inefficient over the years with several billions of naira in arrears and strong allegations of fraud and looting, adding that this necessitated the establishment of the PTAD to consolidate all federal pension departments to plug all leakages.
“In light of the widespread fraud that was revealed and his commitment to the welfare of pensioners, President Goodluck Jonathan took bold steps to consolidate pension management reforms and clean up the mess in the system,” Okonjo-Iweala said.