Okoh, head of communications of the BPE explained that by the provision of Section 4(1) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (Pension Act), the obligations of the employer is to make a contribution of a minimum of 10 percent of the employees monthly emoluments in addition to a minimum of 8 percent contribution by the employee and remit the combined sums to the employees Retirement Savings Account (RSA)
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has said that far it has cleared all financial obligations with regard to benefits of retiring officers and directors of the Bureau.
Alex Okoh, head of communications of the BPE explained that by the provision of Section 4(1) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (Pension Act), the obligations of the employer is to make a contribution of a minimum of 10 percent of the employees monthly emoluments in addition to a minimum of 8 percent contribution by the employee and remit the combined sums to the employees Retirement Savings Account (RSA).
Reacting to a complaint against the Director-General of the Bureau, Mr Benjamin Ezra Dikki, by a former Director of the Bureau, Mallam Ibrahim Kashim over the non-payment of the former director’s terminal benefits, Okoh, said that upon retirement and attainment of the age of 50 years, in accordance with the provision of Section 7(1)(a), the employee will be entitled to a withdrawal of a lump sum payment and subsequently a programmed monthly or quarterly withdrawals calculated on the basis of expected life span.
According to a statement which he signed, once the employer makes the statutory contributions, it has no other obligation to the staff retiring.
However, the Bureau in its desire to ameliorate the plights of its former staff who retired and the financial dislocation they went through before they could access payments from their RSA, decided to explore the provision of Section 4(4) (a) on the Pension Act which gives employers the discretion to make additional payments of benefits to its retiring employees.
“It was intended to provide a cushion of funding for retiring staff pending when they were able to process and access their RSA’s. Consequently, the National Council on Privatization approval was sought to create terminal benefits for the Bureau’s staff who are retiring.
This was however, subject to the approval of the Salaries and Wages Commission, the body that has the statutory powers to approve Salaries and Allowance of Public Servants.
The Salaries and Wages Commission declined approval of the Terminal Benefits on the grounds that the Bureau cannot be singled out of the entire Public Service for such special treatment” Okoh explained, adding that once the Salaries and Wages Commission did not approve the benefits, such cannot be included in the budget template and be funded.
According to the statement,by the provisions of the Pension Act and the determination of the Salaries and Wages Commission, there is no terminal benefit payable to Mall Ibrahim M Kashim or any staff.
The statement reads, “We wish to emphasis that all retirement benefits are paid by PENCOM in line with the Pension Act and all the ex-director’s records have been forwarded to PENCOM for payment. He has been advised to follow-up with PENCOM for payment.
Okoh further stated that Mall Ibrahim M Kashim lied when he stated, that the former director general (DG) of the Bureau, Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa was removed partly because she refused to accept the appointment of a prominent PDP lawyer to wind up PHCN for an amount exceeding N1.5billion.
It said that immediately after her removal the current DG, established a committee that awarded the assignment to the preferred Law firm.
“The fact is that the National Council on Privatization at its 3rd Meeting of 2013 held on Thursday May 9, 2013 had approved the engagement of Messrs J K Gadazama as the consultant for winding up of PHCN. Benjamin Ezra Dikki was appointed acting DG on 27the November, 2013, over six months later,” the statement noted.