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Experts advocate free healthcare, enhanced benefits for pensioners



PenCom allays fear over management of N8.67trn pension fund

Some pension experts have advocated the provision of free medical healthcare services and payment of enhanced benefits to eligible pensioners in the country.

Dr. Musa Ibrahim, the Founder, Abuja Pensions School (APS) and Retirement Planning, joined other experts to make the call during a webinar programme in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

The programme was organised by Retirement Benefits Advisory (RBA) in collaboration with APS.

Ibrahim said that the webinar, which was the second editing was aimed at safeguarding pensioners from economic shocks occasioned by the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

He appealed to the government to provide a robust health and housing system for retirees.

Ibrahim commended the National Pension Commission (PenCom) on their efforts toward making the lives of pensioners better.

He called on governments at all levels to review the pensions of retirees to determine if they deserved additional lump sums.

Prof. Mike Ikupolati, the former Director-General, West African Insurance Institute (WAII), called for a review of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act (PFA) 2014 on withdrawals and setting of new guidelines.

He emphasised the need for constant pre-retirement trainings for citizens and encouraged pensioners to have multiple streams of income.

He advocated free healthcare for pensioners in the country.

Prof. Nasiru Maiturare, the Professor of Actuarial Science and visiting professor at APS, observed that the corona virus pandemic had brought myriad of challenges to Nigerian pensioners.

He reiterated that an efficient and effective pension system was necessary to attain economic growth, boost productivity in workplaces and ensure employee’s well-being.

“Governments at all levels must strive to balance the twin goals of delivering financial security for retirees that is both adequate for the individual and sustainable for the economy’’ Maiturare said.

Mr. Ivor Takor, the Executive Director, Centre for Pension Rights Advocacy commended PenCom for their role in easing the process of accessing benefits by retiring employees.

He also appealed for the payment of additional lump-sum to eligible retirees based on their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) balance and remaining life expectancy.

He also suggested that the RSA be linked to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) so that when senior citizens retire, they could still access proper healthcare.

Mr. Joseph Adeniyi, the Deputy Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), listed the various challenges faced by pensioners to include their inability to see doctors on their ailments and non-payment of pension arrears.

He also decried the non-inclusion of pensioners in palliatives intervention and non-implementation of the 1999 constitution provisions of sections 173(3) and 210(3), especially by various states government.

Ginika Okoye

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