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Please don’t scrap Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate

I was mystified and dumbfounded to read from the newspapers that after resurrecting the Oronsaye Report and taking a decision on it, the Tinubu administration…

I was mystified and dumbfounded to read from the newspapers that after resurrecting the Oronsaye Report and taking a decision on it, the Tinubu administration decided to disband the much-beloved Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate and transfer its function to the Federal Ministry of Finance, a purely bureaucratic ministry.

Whoever advised the government to make this unpopular decision, which does not sit well with federal pensioners, did not do well and it should be jettisoned.

I am pretty aware that any government can take any decision but if it does not sit well with the majority of the people it purports to govern, there is the absolute need to listen, modify, review or even abandon it.

Since its inception during the Obasanjo administration, the PTAD has dutifully, professionally and commendably been serving pensioners without any complaint, unlike when it was domiciled in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation where pensioners were callously subjected to harrowing and dehumanizing treatment. 

Pensioners were either not paid at all or were short-changed and their complaints were ignored or treated disdainfully. As this was going on, the officers in the Pension Department of the Office of the Head Civil Service of the Federation were feeding fat on the money meant for pensioners.

I retired from the Diplomatic Service on July 11, 2006, as a Director on Salary Grade Level (SGL) 17, Step 9. My Ministry of Foreign Affairs dutifully computed my gratuity and monthly pension and forwarded it together with all supporting documents to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation for necessary action.

Yes, I was paid the ridiculously small gratuity which I feel scandalised to mention here. But for over one year, the tin gods in the Pension Department in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation refused to pay me the monthly pension. When they eventually decided to pay me, they began paying me N58,522.39 monthly which was at complete variance with what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs computed and forwarded to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

I wrote six letters of protest about my pension to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and none of the six letters was acknowledged. This is simply to confirm the depth the civil service has sunk to. Undeterred, I went to the Pension Department more than 20 times where I sadly met uncultured, rude, crude and uncouth officers who were by far junior to me. Since by nature, I don’t brook nonsense from anybody, I deprecated their petulant and churlish behaviour.

As for the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation who neither instructed his subordinates to take necessary action on my six petitions nor cause a reply to be sent to me, I instituted legal action against him in an Abuja High Court in 2010. After all, I was not asking him for any favour but my legitimate entitlement which I laboured for for over three decades.

Like me, thousands of pensioners have one tale of woe or another to tell of their nasty and unforgivable experiences with the pension thieves. Mercifully the government of President Obasanjo brilliantly came up with the Pension Reform Act which paved the way for the establishment of the Pension Commission and shortly after the setting of the Pension Transitional Administration Department (PTAD).

First of all, PTAD recruited and trained its staff for optimal performance. Secondly, it reorientated its staff not to toe the Civil Service way of doing things. Third, and most importantly, it warned them against dubious or corrupt practices. Any pensioner transacting any business with any staff of the PTAD will not fail to observe transparency, honesty and professionalism. Moreover, it conducts most of its affairs online. PTAD, from time to time, advises pensioners not to listen to fraudulent characters who will telephone them for one thing or the other. Therefore, the establishment of the PTAD has been a blessing to all pensioners who will loathe to having anything to do with a bureaucratic ministry.

Transferring its function to the Ministry of Finance, therefore, will be a tragedy of immense proportions. In this connection, we pensioners reject in totality the disbandment of the PTAD. We receive our pension regularly without any hassle; and complaints are expeditiously attended to.

President Tinubu, please leave pensioners to continue to enjoy the excellent services provided by the PTAD.

 

Ambassador Sulaiman Dahiru OFR

 

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