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Stakeholders disagree over move to exempt police from contributory pension

Stakeholders yesterday disagreed over a move by the Senate to exempt Nigeria Police Force from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).  They spoke at a public…

Stakeholders yesterday disagreed over a move by the Senate to exempt Nigeria Police Force from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). 

They spoke at a public hearing on a bill to establish the Police Pension Board organised by the Senate Committee on Police Affairs at the National Assembly, Abuja. 

While senators, Nigeria Police Force and groups of police retirees supported the proposal, the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), pension fund administrators and Nigeria Labour Congress kicked against it. 

The Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba, represented by Deputy Inspector General Sanusi Lemu, in his presentation, said the police force deserved to have a separate body for management and administration of pension of its retirees.

He said the proposed board, when established, would boost the morale of police personnel to dispassionately discharge their duties of fighting crimes.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Dauda Haliru Jika, sponsor of the bill, Senator Elisha Abbo and Senator Ali Ndume, in their separate remarks, said the police deserved to be given special treatment being enjoyed by the military with a special pension board.

However, PENCOM said the exemption of personnel of the police from the contributory pension scheme would imply additional financial burden on the Federal Government by way of unsustainable pension obligations. 

Commission’s Director-General, Aisha Dahiru, represented by Clement Oyedele Akintola, said: “As at 30 November 2022, there were 307,154 police personnel based on IPPIS data. An actuarial valuation revealed that the retirement benefits (pension and gratuity) liability of these personnel under the defunct Defined Benefits Scheme would amount to about N1.84 trillion. This liability is expected to significantly increase with the proposed yearly recruitment of 10,000 personnel into the police force. 

“The Federal Government is already overburdened with the payment of pensions under the Defined Benefits Scheme as illustrated by the 2023 Appropriation Act, which made a provision under the Service Wide Vote for the sum of N854.8 billion as total allocation for Pension and Gratuities. 

“Consequently, it would be fiscally imprudent to increase the number of this category of retirees under that Scheme. It would also render the retirees financially vulnerable and insecure.”

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Waba, said the proposed Police Pension Board is well envisioned but the problem is sustainability of funding saying “the mistake of moving from known to unknown should not be made.”