Minimum Wage: Retirees demand increase in monthly pensions


…As Niger government to join NHIS – Commissioner***

Following the agreement on a new minimum wage of N30, 000, pensioners have also urged federal and state governments to consider a national minimum pension for them.

National President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Dr. Abel Afolayan, said this became necessary because of the ridiculous amount being paid to retirees.

Afolayan, in a statement made available to reporters in Ado Ekiti on Thursday by NUP Chairman in Ekiti State, Elder Ayo Kumapayi, said pensioners should not be left out in wage increase to tackle post-retirement poverty.

According to him, the request of the senior citizens was in line with the provisions of section 173(3) and 210(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which unanimously states that pension shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews.

He said: “Despite our efforts and submissions nothing has been done in compliance with the constitutional provisions.

“This is the reason why the union has been very vocal and unrelenting in restating its position on the call and demand for a new minimum pension alongside the ongoing negotiation for a new minimum wage which by all indications will soon be approved for implementation.”

Afolayan whatever is finally approved as the national minimum wage  should equally apply to pensioners as national minimum pension.

The NUP boss expressed regret that many pensioners still earn as low as four thousand naira per month which he said is nothing to write home about considering the present economic situation in the country.

He said: “It is unacceptable and inhumane for pensioners to earn less than #30,000 having spent most of their valuable years to serve their father land.”

Afolayan urged state governments should take a cue from the federal government and ensure that they pay whatever is finally approved by the Federal Government.

Also the NUP president expressed disappointment over the non-payment of the balance of the twelve months areas of the 33% pension increases in 2010.

To this end he said the union had given government and the Pension Transition Administration Directorate (PTAD) twenty one days ultimatum to pay or it would picket the agency’s office.

Afolayan said pensioners have been patient enough and could no longer wait as majority of the pensioners have died without benefiting.

In the meantime, the Niger Government has expressed its readiness to join the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) so as to improve health care delivery to the citizens.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Jibril Mustapha, conveyed the government’s plans at a news conference in Minna on Thursday.

He said that the state government was signing up for the scheme in its efforts to make health care delivery accessible for the residents.

He noted that workers in the state were often finding it difficult to access healthcare services because of cash constraints.

Mustapha said that the adoption of the scheme would facilitate the efforts of the state government to meet the health care needs of its workers.

He said that a bill on the introduction of health insurance scheme would soon be sent to the state House of Assembly.

He said that the scheme would enable residents to access health care services by paying a small percentage of the service charges.

“We have already provided modern health facilities for all our health institutions,” he added.

The Nation