Jigawa administration is criticised by a group for not sending in pension payments

Aug 31, 2023 | Politics | 0 comments

The Jigawa State non-governmental Partnership for Inclusive Local Governance and Budget (PILGOB) is investigating the stunning discovery that 3.2 billion from the State and Local Government Contributory Pension Plan for local government employees was not remitted.

On Wednesday, the PILGOB’s administrative secretary, Ahmed Ilallah, informed reporters in Dutse, Jigawa State’s capital, that the pension’s alleged non-remittance caused the unusual delay in retiree payouts.

Jigawa State’s 27 local governments should have paid N3.2 billion in pension deductions and contributions for years.

Official papers exclusively acquired by this publication showed that municipalities failed to pay pension dues in 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The records also imply that the municipalities’ refusal to return payments as required by law has harmed the state’s contributory pension programme.

The transitional committee report includes the 27 local government councils’ N1.25 billion payment backlog from September 2014 to May 2015 as 17% contributions.

In 2019, N254.6 million was unremitted, N795 million in 2020, and N920.9 million in 2021, totalling almost N3.2 billion.

The response
Mr. Illallah alleged the state government commission that assessed the public servant pension programme lied to reporters.

The Jigawa State Pension programme (State and Local Government Contributory Pension) was lauded when it was established in February 2001 by the previous Governor of Alhaji Saminu Turaki. The system has been working well, but as it matures, there are concerns about its future.

“This is due to various factors, including the system’s openness in investing contributed money, the pensioners’ payments, the state and local governments’ contribution status, and the state public service’s confusing pension policy.

Section 4 of the Jigawa State and Local Governments Contributory Pension Act states that the “(State and Local Government Contributory Pension) Contributory Pension Scheme law mandates each pensionable worker to contribute 8% of their basic salary;” The co-partners of the pension scheme have failed to remit about N3.2B to the scheme for almost five years.

“For openness and governance accountability, state and local governments should explain their position on the accusation to clear the air and confirm the administration’s sincerity in changing the plan to be great again in sustainability.

“Just a week before Malam Umar Namadi (Jigawa State Governor) was inaugurated, he inherited a huge line of retired government officials waiting for gratuity and other pension benefits. Some of these workers are approaching 10 months of retirement, which is rare in the state.

To look into the problems with the scheme and suggest a solution to the government, the Governor appointed a commission under the direction of the State Head of Service. After the Committee’s work, the state and municipal governments failed to remit.

We support the Jigawa State Contributory Pension, but the Committee’s recommendation is inadequate to protect it. A solid pension system stands independently; employer employment or non-employment will not influence a contributor’s pension payments.

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