The Federal Government is set to review the existing pension scheme in line with the provisions of the enabling law, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has said.
According to the Minister, the government is determined to fully implement the provisions of section 173(3) of the Constitution that makes review of pension compulsory every five years or at any increment of salaries.
Ngige gave this hint in Abuja on Wednesday when he played host to leaders of the Association of Contributory Pensioners of Nigeria (ACPN) in his office.
Justifying the need for the review, Ngige said: “A review was done in 2011 on minimum wage, and once the minimum wage is touched, it should automatically affect the pension.
“I am not a believer in George Orwell’s Animal Kingdom where some animals are more equal than others. I do not believe in different yardstick for different persons. This is the law of nature and of creation. We are all created equal. It is just that some people are more privileged than others.”
The Minister who lamented the ordeal of the contributory pensioners promised to urgently institute an appropriate liaison with Pension Commission, PENCOM, to rectify observed operational anomalies so as to ensure that their benefits are fully paid as and when due.
Citing the provision of ILO Convention 102, he said pension matters should be under the Ministry of Labour and Employment and assured them that the Ministry will not abandon them.
He however said that the existing pension law made it difficult to register two separate unions under pension as requested by the contributory pensioners.
“It is either that we get as a special concession for you or we amend the Pension Act 2004 to make a place for you as National Union of Pensioners. But let’s bear in mind that before an act of the parliament is amended, it takes all stakeholders into consideration and takes time too. We can also seek for the amendment of the Trade Union Act to give us powers to fully entertain your case.”
Protem Chairman of the association, Chief Uche Ekpo told the Minister that the Registrar of Trade Unions denied the Contributory Pensioners registration as a trade union, pointing out that with the denial, they were not being represented by an organised union.
He drew the Minister’s attention to what he called discriminatory implementation of the Pension Reform Act 2004 which has made some government departments and agencies pull out of the Contributory Pension regime and further requested for the review of pension as guaranteed by the constitution.
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