By G9ija

Pensioners, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners have written a letter of appreciation and commendation to President Muhammadu Buhari, for payment of major part of their backlog entitlements.

In the letter signed by Elder Actor Zal, General Secretary of the association, which was made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The pensioners described Buhari as a leader “who listens to the yearnings and aspirations” of his subjects.

They noted that this was evidenced by “the deliberate efforts being put in place by your government to put smiles on the faces of our members.”

The text of the letter reads in part:

“The leadership and entire members of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners wishes to express her profound appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari, for the release of enabling circular for the payment of the consequential adjustment of pension and the immediate release of funds for the payment of the accrued two years arrears.

“In spite of the economic odds, the moment the circular was released, the President through the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) commenced payment to pensioners nationwide by the initial release of 12 months in June, and another payment of six months in July, leaving the balance of six months pending.

”We do sincerely hope that the balance will be cleared in due course.

“The Union notes with great nostalgia the deliberate efforts being put in place by your government to put smiles on the faces of our members nationwide and we are appreciatively indebted to your government.

“This singular action of yours goes to attest to the fact that you are, indeed, a listening President who listens to the yearnings and aspirations of your subjects.

“We cannot thank you enough.”

On April 30, President Buhari approved the payment of the consequential adjustment to pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) in line with the minimum wage approved in 2019.

Chioma Ejikeme, the Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja.

She said that with the presidential approval, PTAD had been empowered to start the upward adjustment of all pensioners’ benefits according to the approved template.

Ejikeme said the adjustment of the new pension payment would start from May 2021, adding that the payment of the arrears would cover the period of the implementation of the minimum wage.

“The arrears from April 2019 will be paid along with the pensioners’ monthly benefit starting from May 2021 payroll.”

She said that on April 22, ”a statement was released to inform the public of the president’s sincerity to implement the consequential adjustment on the pension benefits through PTAD”.

It will be recalled that the minimum pension contribution for employers was increased from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent in line with Section 4(1) of the Pension Reform Act, PRA 2014.