Delta State pensioners under the umbrella of Association of Contributory Pension (ACR) have raised the alarm over the delisting of 1,000 members from the pension scheme, allegedly by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that the delisting of the pensioners was carried out while harmonising the disparity in benefits between retired state workers and local government workers.
The senior citizens accused the state government of shortchanging them in the payment of benefits and vowed that they would make sure all their services to the state government shall not be in vain.
Addressing Journalists on Thursday during a press briefing in Asaba, the state capital, Chairman of the Delta State chapter of the Association of Contributory Pension (ACR), Avurakoghene Agbaka, noted that civil servants who retired from the state civil service from 2011 had not had a fair share of their pension benefits because they were brought into the contributory pension scheme policy of the state.
The group leader said that following the introduction of the contributory pension scheme in the state, consultants were engaged to work out the retirement benefits for workers after many years of protest and outcry.
This, according to him, forced Okowa to approve the reconciliation to ensure that both retirees of the state and local governments workers receive equal benefits.
According to Agbaka, the consultants engaged in looking into the benefits accruing to the local government workers, used N18,000 minimum wage for its computation, while the one engaged for the state civil service workers, used N7,500 for its computation as at the period.
“Consequently, retirees from the state civil service go home with peanuts compared to their counterparts in the local government,” he pointed out. “We appreciate the governor for approving the review actuarial valuation of accrued pension benefits of workers of the state service from N7,500 to N18,000 minimum wage tagged ‘harmonisation’.
“And we appreciate him for the three times releases of N300 million instead of N500 million to commence the implementation. But we are compelled to inform the governor and the general public that the second actuarial valuation of accrued pension benefits of state workers is conversely to shortchange the workers and the retirees,” he said.
Agbaka noted that the second valuation exercise was a twist of fate from authentication of figures seeing that workers in the state civil service were not at par with their counterparts in the local government whose benefits remained higher.
“The question is, why is the government still glued to deliver the inconclusive reports of a consultant and has commenced payment amid complaint and agitation? Why is the low figure being computed for retirees, the use of pre-2010 data that were earlier corrected, more than 1,000 omitted staff names from the report?”
Agbaka lamented that even after the harmonisation was concluded, rather than retirees under the scheme to fare better, there was little or no change.
Instead, he says most of its members were shortchanged or delisted from the scheme.