Delta Still Committed To Pensioners Wellbeing, Says Uduaghan

BY SAM DUVWODE
Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, yesterday, reiterated the state government’s commitment to the wellbeing of its pensioners, saying government is making efforts to effect the backlog payment for retirees caught between the old and new pension schemes.
Dr. Uduaghan, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama (SAN), stated this at the second annual lecture for the Delta State Bureau for State Pensions at Asaba.
The governor noted that government in the last decade has become more responsive in enunciating policies and legislations aimed at encouraging proper treatment of employees by their employers in addition to paying adequate attention to employees welfare, especially on retirement.
Governor Uduaghan, while saying that the topic for the second annual lecture; ‘Contributory Pension Scheme In Delta State Public Service: My Experiences’ Our Expectaions, is quite germane, expressed hope that the lecture will provide the necessary environment to look into ways of addressing the challenges in the pension reform process.
“Government believes that the reforms in the pension sector are good for pension administration as this has created a framework for a healthy enforcement of the right of employees to pension claims. Today, it is on record that the contributory pension scheme has become a shared responsibility between the employer and the employee”, he stated.
According to him, the state is also one of the few states to have implemented the new pension scheme initially contributing 16 per cent to the fund as against the approved 7.5 per cent which has now been reviewed downward to 10 per cent.
“Let me reiterate that the state government is committed to the wellbeing of its pensioners, as we are making efforts to the backlog payment for retirees caught between the old and new pension schemes”, he said.
Dr. Uduaghan, while commending the Bureau for State Pension for sustaining its annual lecture series as it allows for cross-fertilisation of ideas, noted that the present administration has contributed over N16 billion as counterpart funding to the new pension scheme since its inception and implementation in 2007.
In his brief, the Head of the Delta State Civil Service, Sir Patrick Origho, noted that the Bureau has successfully transferred all deductions/government contributions into the Retirement Savings Account of its contributors and since 2011 till date, has been judiciously crediting contributors’ retirement savings acount.
He stated that with the recent boost given by the state government for monthly release of funds for the defrayal of backlogs, the Bureau is trying to reposition to ensure that retirees benefits are not only paid on time but actually seen to be so.
Earlier, Chairman, Bereau for State Pensions, Dame (Chief) Christiana Siakpere, in her address, stated that the Bureau for State Pensions among other strategies instituted this platform as a way of bridging the obvious information gap which is evident in the contributory pension scheme and has continued to create misconceptions and worries.
Dame Siakpere, who noted that the bureau in the last five years of its existence had witnessed a fair dosage of challenges, stated that in surmounting such challenges, the bureau has continued to evolve strategies and methods that will enable them find ways to effectively address its teething problems and in the process, consolidate on the gains achieved so far.