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News : PTAD Launches Toll-free Call Centre for Pensioners
Abuja, Nigeria, Feb 26, 2015 -- The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), an independent agency responsible for the management of federal pensions under the defined benefit scheme, has saved money for the federal government in the last one year through reduced leakages in pension funds.
This was disclosed by the Coordinating Minister for the Federation and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the first stakeholders’ forum organized by PTAD in Abuja yesterday.
The occasion, which witnessed the launch of a toll free call centre for pensioners to get easy access to information on their pensions was organized to enable PTAD get feedback from all its stakeholders on its operations in the past year.
The minister, who expressed profound appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for his commitment to ongoing pension reforms in the country, said the significant savings recorded by PTAD was made possible by the agency’s reliance on technology, which saw the removal of over 15,000 duplicate or ghost pensioners from its payroll as well as its commitment to entrench world class financial management practices in the management of pension funds in the country.
She said the efficiency gains recorded have enabled government to include additional 1,254 pensioners from three liquidated steel rolling mills to be pay-rolled.
She noted that Nigeria’s pensions system had become inefficient over the years with several billions of naira in arrears and strong allegations of fraud and looting, adding that this necessitated the establishment of PTAD to consolidate all federal pension departments to plug all leakages.
"In light of the widespread fraud that was revealed and his commitment to the welfare of pensioners, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took bold steps to consolidate pension management reforms and clean up the mess in the system.
"As a result, he supported the establishment of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) in line with the provisions of the Pensions Reform Act passed in 2004. PTAD has now enabled us to completely switch from the old defined benefits or "pay as you go" scheme to the contributory pensions scheme and intensify the cleanup of the mess in our pensions system," she said.
These interventions according to her has led to concrete real life improvements in the lives of pensioners.
The Director General of PTAD, Mrs. Nellie Mayshak said the launch of the toll-free call centre was one of the deliverables of the agency to make pensioners have easy access to information on their pensions, adding that the agency has invested heavily in technology not only to plug leakages but to serve stakeholders efficiently.
"With our call centre a pensioner can have access to information on their pension without leaving their homes. This will reduce cases of pensioners travelling long distances just to make enquiries on the status of their pensions.
Pensioners were appreciative of the efforts of PTAD, especially the payment of arrears of the pension increase in 2014 and the ongoing biometric verification to ascertain the exact number of pensioners on payroll.
The pensioners under the electricity sector in showing their appreciation gave an award to the CME, while a similar gesture was done by PTAD for the President and the minister.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, March 2, 2015