The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Monday inaugurated an inter-ministerial committee to review all pension liabilities of the Federal Government and come up with strategies to offset them.
Adeosun heads the committee made up of the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, and the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, among others.
She said the composition of the committee was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that its terms of reference were to review and reconcile all pension liabilities and make recommendations as to what portion of the liabilities could be funded through budget appropriations, as well as to suggest creative ways of funding the balance.
A statement from the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Salisu Dambatta, stated that the Finance minister tasked the members of the committee to identify any pension asset that could be in suspense and ensure that such funds were used in offsetting the liabilities.
She also called on them to set up mechanism that would facilitate regular payment of pensions through budgetary allocations.
The minister lamented the situation where pensioners were not paid their entitlements and promised that the committee would ensure that it would create a mechanism through which pensioners would be paid as and when due.
Federal civil servants, who retired since January 2016, had on March 16 staged a protest at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Finance over their unpaid pensions estimated at about N200bn.
Members of the League of Federal Service Contributory Pension Retirees led by the Coordinator, Mr. Chike Ogbechie, had claimed that workers who had retired in the last 15 months had yet to receive their pensions.
He said the association had made a submission to the National Assembly on the 2017 budget, stating that if the sum of N200bn was not approved for payment of outstanding pensions, it would be difficult to pay the backlog.
Ogbechie had stated, “We are particular about the role of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun. We have made attempts to see her and we have written to her several times over this matter. She doesn’t give it a priority.
“The next time we come here, we are going to occupy this ministry. We are going to bring our mattresses and we will stay here.”