Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through its Area Council Staff Pension Board has commenced verification of 1,250 pensioners, aimed at getting accurate database of pensioners into the scheme.
It was gathered that the exercise kicked off sequel to directive from the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello to the Board, to enable the government get the database of right pensioners on FCT payroll.
This was disclosed yesterday by Director of the Pension Board, Mr. Nden Nanzing, while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja.
According to him, the verification exercise will afford the Board an opportunity to increase pension in line with the Pensions Commission regulation which recommends an increase of pensions every five years, stating that the process is due for review.
“The verification is a directive of the FCT Minister to get the database of our pensioners into the scheme and ensure that we are paying the right persons.
“We have 1,250 pensioners under the defined benefits scheme on our payroll. And we have to verify if all of them are still alive to see if we can increase their pensions.
“We have a regulation from the Pensions Commission which allows us to increase pensions every five years and the process is due now.
“Unless we have a reliable data base, we will not be able to advise the Honorable Minister on the increase.
“At the end of the exercise, we will tender a report to the Minister on the entire process and those we have already captured on the database,” Nden stated.
Reacting to the development, one of the pensioners, Rev. Kasuwa Zamani, who spoke to our correspondent commended the FCT Area Council Staff Pension Board for the verification exercise, just as he appealed that the Board should embark on upward review of pension in view of the present day economic realities.
According to him, “we are happy the decent manner in which the exercise is being conducted and civility accorded to pensioners.
“However, I want to appeal very passionately that the Board should increase our pension for us to meet up with the present day economic demands.”
Similarly, another pensioner, Mrs. Nancy Bulus, reiterated the need for the Board to use the verification exercise to fish out ghost pensioners.