The Lagos State government on Friday said it had paid not less than N125 billion to 29,518 retirees since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2004.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, represented by Mrs Folashade Jaji, Secretary to the State’s Government (SSG), said this while delivering a keynote address at the 98th Batch Retirement Bond Certificate Presentation to the state’s retirees.
The event was organised by the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu stated that the state government had also paid over N47 billion into the Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) of its retirees since the advent of his administration in 2019.
He noted that 12,642 retirees from the state’s Mainstream, Local Government, State Universal Basic Board (SUBEB), Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) and other parastatals were enjoying their retirement benefits under CPS in the state.
“The Lagos State government has paid 125,996,687,159.13 to 29,518 retirees since the advent of CPS and N47,050,805,734.16 to its retirees since inception of my administration,” he said.
According to him, the state had paid not less than N2,522 billion into the RSA’s of another set of 755 retirees for the month of December.
Sanwo-Olu said: “This is alongside their monthly contributions which has already been remitted into their respective RSAs with the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
“Today’s event is a continued affirmation of the commitment of the state government to the welfare of its workforce, both active and post-service.
“This event is a landmark occasion as the number of retirees and the amount to be paid is the single largest we have paid since the inception of the CPS in Lagos State.
“We are not unaware of the backlog in the payment of accrued rights but we are focused on the intentional and strategic eradication of this backlog.”
He said despite the challenges faced, Lagos State had continued to be the leading light, not only in the administration of pension benefits but generally in good credible governance.
“Lagos State emerged as the top performer in pension payments among other quality indices of the CPS this year,” he added.
According to him, the state through LASPEC is assiduously working on its administration’s goal to ‘pay as you go. ‘
The governor said the state would continue to ensure that public service retirees would not only get what was due to them statutorily, but also receive support and assistance that would add value to their lives in retirement through other agencies and programmes.
Sanwo-Olu promised that his administration would continue to run an open government that promoted diversity and inclusion.
“I want to reaffirm that no matter your gender, sex, tribe or special needs, as long as you are a retiree of the Lagos State public service, your welfare and wellbeing is top priority.
“My prayer at this particular time is that God in His infinite mercy will see us through the year as it winds up and make us witness many more prosperous years ahead,” he said.
In her address, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle, Commissioner for Establishments,Training And Pensions, said the accrued pension right paid by the state government between 2019 till date was the highest paid by any state government.
Ponnle, represented by Dr Abiodun Onayele, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishment training And Pensions, lauded Sanwo-Olu for fulfilling his promise to the public service workforce despite the huge liabilities incurred in running a megacity like Lagos.
She said: “Lagos State has been consistent in her leadership role in the implementation of the CPS and have won numerous awards such as the best compliant state in the federation consecutively and consistently.
“We are committed to maintaining this rating by improving on timely payment of retirees’ pensions and other applicable benefits upon disengagement from service.
“As you receive your retirement bond certificates, I wish to advise you to embrace the joy and challenges of this new phase of life and take advice from competent and reliable sources.
“In this regard, please do not hesitate to contact LASPEC or even the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions should you require clarifications or advice regarding the modalities surrounding your retirement benefit matters.
In his welcome address, Director-General, LASPEC, Mr Babalola Obilana said since the inception CPS in Nigeria, Lagos State has remained focused and resolute to the ideals of the scheme.
Obilana stated that the state government had consistently prioritised pension contributions in the annual state budget and did not owe monthly pension contributions.
“LASPEC in line with its role as the regulatory body for pension matters in the state is constantly reviewing its business processes to ensure the financial wellbeing of public service retirees.
“This year, the commission inspected all PFAs and Annuity Service Providers (ASPs) registered by the state government to ensure their compliance with the CPS.
“We also concluded the review of the Lagos State Pension Law to ensure your retirement obligations are adequately protected.
“From January 2022 till date, the state government has paid a total sum of N11,397,120,522.69 into the RSA of 3,481 retirees,” he said.