The Military Pensions Board (MPB) has commenced payment of 24 months arrears of minimum wage increment to over 90,000 eligible military pensioners across the country.
The Chairman of the board, Rear Adm. Saburi Lawal, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Friday in Abuja, said that the payment started on Thursday.
Lawal said that the board had commenced with 25 per cent of the outstanding sum to individual pensioners, adding that the payment was scheduled to be made in four installments on quarterly basis.
The chairman said that while the first 25 per cent would be paid in February, the second would be paid in April, third in July and the fourth and last would be paid in October.
He also said that the Next-of-Kin (NOKs) of deceased pensioners, who were still alive as of April 2019, when the approval for consequential adjustment, was given by President Muhammadu Bihari, had also been paid.
According to him, all the pensioners who died between April 2019 and April 2021 also benefited from the arrears and their NOKs have been paid the 100 per cent.
“PMB wishes to inform our esteem retirees and pensioners that the board started paying 25 per cent of the arrears of minimum wage increments to eligible military retirees on MPB payroll yesterday Feb. 3, 2022.”
“This payment is the first out of four installmental payments that will be made to all pensioners entitled to the arrears of minimum wage increment on pensions.”
“Our esteemed pensioners should please note that this installment payment arrangement is the outcome of the discussions and agreement reached between the Board and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning,” he said.
According to him, it is for quarterly releases of the appropriated sum in the first month of each quarter.
“Thus, all things being equal, subsequent payments of the outstanding arrears will be in the months of April, July and October.”
“Additionally, I will like to further inform that all Next of Kins (NOKs) of deceased military pensioners who are eligible for same arrears would be paid the minimum wage increments together with the shortfall of the death benefits earlier paid to them.”
“Accordingly, Next of Kins of deceased military pensioners who died between April 2019 and April 2021 are advised to contact their banks for these payments,” he said.
Lawal clarified that pensions of senior officers of the rank of Major-General and above or its equivalents were not affected by the consequential adjustments on pensions occasioned by the new National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2019.
He assured the military retirees, NOKs and other well-meaning Nigerians that the board would remain resolute and would ensure complete payment of the arrears before the end of the year, subject to release of funds.
Lawal also, disclosed that the proposed online verification of pensioners would commence in months’ time with a view to getting pensioners verified from the comfort of their homes.
He said the board had gone far with the planned electronic verification exercise, adding that the IT consultants were 95 per cent ready to deploy.
“The electronic verification package that we are embarking on is going to be very unique.”
“It is going to be a package that is going to afford all the pensioners the opportunity from the comfort of their homes or offices to carry out verification by themselves.”
“Because we know that for us to go to that level of sophistication, we must be able to have a full proof package and that is why it has taken us time in crossing the `T’s and dotting the `I’s.”
“I can assure you that in the next one month, we are going to invite you here for the launch of that programme,” he said.