Pensioners under the umbrella of the Association of Retired Senior Public Officers of Nigeria (ARFESPON) have appealed to the Federal Government to pay them all outstanding pension benefits.
They are also asking the government to stop the disparity in payment of pension benefits between its members and their serving counterparts.
ARFESPON is made up of retired management level officers from salary grade level 14 to Permanent Secretaries, Comptrollers-General of Customs, Immigration and Prisons and career Ambassadors.
The President of the Lagos State chapter of the association, Olufemi Odewabi, while speaking with reporters in Lagos said government currently owes its members 30-month pension benefits.
According to him, the government is yet to implement the 53.4 per cent pension increase following salary increase it effected for federal public workers in 2010, which by stipulations of the law of the federation should supply to retirement benefits of pensioners.
He said: “The Federal Government is yet to listen to yearnings of retired senior public officers. We have been pleading with government to totally effect the 2010 increase in our pension benefits and to end the era of disparity in the payment of retirement benefits to pensioners.
“The government had during the regime of Goodluck Jonathan effected 53.4 per cent increase in the salaries of public office workers and failed to do same for pensioners. Section 173, sub-section 3 of the Constitution of Nigeria states that pension shall be reviewed every five years or together with any federal civil service salary review, whichever is earlier.”
“When we reacted to government’s non-compliance with the above section of the law regarding the increase it made in the salaries of its workers in 2010, the government set up a committee to review our case. But the committee went contrary to the position of the Constitution on the issue and recommended 33 per cent increase for the pensioners against 53.4 per cent effected on federal workers’ salaries.”
This, according to Odewabi, left the pensioners with a short change of 20.4 percent. He lamented that rather than pay the 33 per cent increase recommended by the committee in full, government has been paying in installments. He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to clear the 30 months arrears and pay up the sum total of the 20.4 per cent deducted by the committee.
He noted that his members were right in their demand for payment of the 20.4 percent deductions because all the reasons given by the committee for the deductions were wrong, adding that the tax percentage deducted by the committee was against Section 173, sub-section 4 of the Constitution of Nigeria, which states that pensioners in respect of service in the public service of the federation shall not be taxed.
He said the per cent deducted for contributory pension scheme was wrong because all his members are under the Defined Benefit old scheme and have nothing to do with Contributory Scheme.
“The Federal Housing Scheme, for which the committee deducted 2.5 per cent should not be because his members are no longer under the housing scheme. The deductions are illegal and I urge President Buhari to listen to our cries and pay both the outstanding 30 months and the 20.4 per cent deductions. We also want the President to intervene in the harmonisation of disparity existing in payments between serving and retired public officers.”
FG Has Paid Fuel marketers N74B in Seven Months — NMDPRA
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) on Wednesday disclosed that the federal government has paid oil marketers N74 billion as bridging claims in last seven months..
The agency said it was reacting to claims by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN), Suleja branch, that continuing fuel scarcity was caused by non-payment of bridging claims.
The agency said it paid N71.2 billion bridging claims and another N2.7 billion freight differentials to the marketers as of June 6.
In May, IPMAN said the government owed its members half a trillion naira being the cost of transporting petrol across the country.
However, at the time NMDPRA had claimed to have paid oil marketers bridging claims of about N59 billion in five months.
In recent months, fuel scarcity has worsened in Abuja and several other cities across the country.
Marketers had listed the high cost of buying petrol at the depots and the high cost of diesel to truck them as the major factors responsible for the recent queue.
On Monday, the government announced that the nation’s capital petroleum deliveries were up nearly 100 per cent after the government offered additional N10 freight reimbursements to marketers.
The statement by the NMDPRA reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has been drawn to allegations made by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN Suleja Branch) on product scarcity as a result of non-payment of bridging claims.
“The authority chief executive of the NMDPRA, at a meeting held on 17th May 2022 with IPMAN bridging payment was discussed extensively and the processes were explained and agreed upon by IPMAN.
“He assured IPMAN of NMDPRA’s willingness to continue making payments of outstanding claims to promote seamless operations.
“Pursuant to the meeting, the NMDPRA went ahead to make an additional payment of N10 billion in June and sought for an upward review of the freight rate which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and is currently being implemented.
“The Authority wishes to reiterate that bridging payment is an ongoing process which is carried out after due verification exercise by the Authority and Marketers.
“So far, the Authority paid N71,233,712,991 bridging claims and another N2,736,179,950.84 freight differentials to the Marketers as at 6th June 2022.
“A breakdown of payment made to Marketers is as follows: Major Marketers (MOMAN) received N9,958,777,487.24, IPMAN members were paid N42,301,923,616.96, NNPC Retails N6,661,459,118.61 while DAPPMAN members were paid N12,303,195,651.57, these translate to a total of N73,969,892,941.84.
“It is disheartening that despite these payments and increase of N10 bridging cost, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago, IPMAN could turn around to accuse the NMDPRA of insensitivity,” the statement said.
It said NMDPRA remains committed to ensuring a safe, efficient, and effective conduct of midstream and downstream petroleum operations.
Nigeria-Cameroon Link Bridge up for Inauguration this June – Fashola
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has stated that the Nigeria-Cameroon link bridge will be inaugurated this June.
Speaking at the 16th inter-ministerial meeting of the group in Abuja, Fashola who doubles as the Chairman of the five regional ministerial steering committees, explained that the largely funded bridge by the African Development Bank (AfDB) is completed and in hopes that ECOWAS would deliver support for the inauguration.
“We have completed a new link bridge that links Nigeria to Cameroon, and it was funded largely by the AfDB and we are hoping that the ECOWAS commission will give us the necessary support to ensure the formal opening of that bridge sometime in the month of June,” he said.
The commitment to the piece of infrastructure, according to the minister, is to transform the road network into a first-class six-lane motorway, emphasizing that while speed is important, quality must not be lost.
“We’re trying to deliver a better life for five countries and over 40 million people who use that corridor, almost on a daily basis.
“The future is bright, this is an important investment for the people of Africa to achieve the objective of the Africa Union (AU) to create a trans-African highway,” he stated.
Lydie Ehouman, AfDB’s Chief Transport Economist and Project Task Manager, also spoke at the event, stating that the bank had been able to acquire an additional €3.5 million for the road project.
Investors King gathered that the total sum available for the initial financing of the project’s strategic research has increased to $41 million.
“The agreement for the on-lending of this additional grant by the bank to ECOWAS is currently being finalised. Thus, in addition to its substantial contribution of $25 million, the bank will have mobilised €12.63 million in the form of a grant from the European Union.
“This brings the total amount available for the financing of this highly strategic study to the equivalent of about US$ 41 million,” she stated.
She did, however, point out that specialists in member countries’ claims of delays were untrue, because the arrangement was that labor should persist while any differences were aired and rectified.
UNDP, DPGA to Promote Global Digital Goods
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), the government of Norway, and Sierra Leone have agreed to promote inclusive digital public infrastructure in countries across the world.
On Wednesday, Investors King gathered that world leaders, development organisations and philanthropic funders are set to invest in a “large-scale technology sharing, funding, and commitment to supporting the international cooperation agenda.”
In its published statement, UNDP stated that the agreement is to improve governance frameworks, which are critical to building a resilient future for countries.
At the event, global leaders committed their efforts to funding and the implementation of digital public infrastructure through a newly established Digital Public Goods Charter (DPG), which serves as a framework to increase international cooperation on this plan.
With its DPG Charter, co-led by the DPGA and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), the UNDP outlines a clear vision for a coordinated global approach to building a safe, trusted, and inclusive digital public infrastructure using DPGs.
“Doing so can enable countries – regardless of income levels – to transform services and service delivery for people and communities everywhere,” the statement read.
The DPG Charter, and the commitments made by global leaders, are especially relevant given the devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting climate disruption.
These challenges, compounded with the unprecedented food, energy, and financial crisis added by the war in Ukraine, are creating an urgent need for global action.
Digital Public Goods are open-source solutions used to build digital public infrastructure (DPI), enabling countries to provide better services and foster inclusive economic growth.
While the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) involves digital systems like cash transfers, digital identification, and data exchange that enable the adequate provision of essential society-wide functions. It also allows the building of resilient crisis recovery.
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