By Segun Giwa
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for making payments of pensions a high priority since the inception of his administration.
PTAD said President Buhari, since the inception of his administration, had made payments of pensions “an un-written first line charge”.
PTAD Executive Secretary, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, who made this known at the South-West Stakeholders Forum in Akure on Friday, said the commitment of the Directorate to the welfare of its pensioners remained sacrosanct.
Ejikeme noted that PTAD had made giant strides and was committed to continuing to build on such successes since its last stakeholders’ forum for the South-West in Ibadan in 2022, and had carried out a series of activities to make the lives of pensioners better.
She said that through the unwavering support of President Buhari, PTAD had completely liquidated the inherited unfunded liabilities of all the defunct/privatised agencies handed over to PTAD in 2017.
She, however, revealed that only NITEL/MTEL had a balance of 36 months, which the directorate was fully committed to liquidating.
The executive secretary also spoke about the launch of the full rollout “I AM Alive” Confirmation (IAAC) solution, which was inaugurated last month for the use of pensioners in ensuring efficient and effective delivery.
Ejikeme said a six-month grace period would be provided for every department and their pensioners to complete their IAAC Solution so that the system would not crash.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IAAC solution is the internet-based verification platform for all the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) pensioners under PTAD’s payroll and was launched on April 14 with the police pensioners being inaugural enrollees.
She revealed that about 50 per cent of retirees of the Nigerian Police have so far confirmed their aliveness through its IAAC solution in less than two weeks of its launch which she described as a success.
Ejikeme also appreciated the support of the supervisory Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and all its other major stakeholders who made the modest successes achieved by the directorate possible.
“It is our prayer that the president-elect will be as favourably disposed towards the pensioners of the Defined Benefit Scheme as the administration of President Buhari has been.
“Our journey from field verifications, and mobile verifications, to putting together a solid database of pensioners, benefit computation, ensuring the regular payment of monthly pensions and paying long overdue pension arrears to pensioners, has been a progressive one.
Ejikeme said the efforts had also been filled with creativity, dedication, commitment, persistence, resulting in milestone achievements.
“It is not yet a perfect situation, albeit PTAD has made giant strides and is committed to continuing to make giant strides,” she said.
Also at the event, South-West Zonal Council of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), chairman, Mr Ayo Ikumapayi, said the narrative had changed with the introduction of technology, which was happiness and improvement for pensioners.
Ikumapayi said PTAD had sent the template at the national level for states to emulate and the directorate was now serving the interest of pensioners and not the other way round.
Also, a pensioner, Mrs Idiat Ogunbiyi, appreciated PTAD for the introduction of
the “I AM Alive” Confirmation solution.
She said it would reduce the stress for physical verification, despite making it conducive.