Once again, Lagos state under the stewardship of Governor Ambode is setting the standards for others to follow, this time with pensions payments.
The Lagos state government paid 275 retirees N1billion for the month of May as retirement benefits (given as retirement benefits bond certificates). This is happening while retirees in other states of the country cry in despair for pension payments for months unend. Many retirees especially from the Federal Civil Service have been known to expire on the long unmoving queues. Many times, the expectant retirees who have to travel significant distances to the pension offices, are forced to spend days at these offices usually with no succour at the end of their ordeals.
Pensions Payment Excellence…
But this is Lagos – the centre of excellence where no less than prompt efficient payment of pensions is expected, and no less is offered. As though to buttress the fact, the Director-General, LASPEC, Mrs. Folashade Onanuga was declared the Pension Amazon of the Year. Also, the Lagos State Government was acknowledged as the number 1 pension-compliant state in the country at the 3rd edition of Business Today Online Pension and Insurance Awards 2015.
However, the retirees have been warned by Mrs. Folashade Onanuga, that they should make judicious use of the money. Specifically, they were warned to look out for criminals who on learning of the payments, would try to defraud the beneficiaries of their pensions through different scams and ploys.
The Lagos State government has paid over 3,000 retirees in the State since August 2015, and expects to continue doing so.
Arguably, the worst pension payment system is with the armed forces who are yet to fully master the payment structure needed to properly carry out the exercise. Sadly, most deaths on pension lines are recorded on the lines for pension payment for retired force men and women – an unfortunate development for Nigerians who served and defended their country with the most active years of their lives.
It will not be far-fetched to ask that the managers of the Lagos State Pension Commission, LASPEC help other arms of government across Federal and State lines develop more efficient systems for the swift processing and payment of benefits to Nigerian retirees.