The National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission (NSIWC) has submitted a report to the Federal Government indicating a possible increase in pension stipends for federal civil service retirees, come 2024.
The proposed raise is expected to benefit pensioners under both the new and previous pension schemes of the Federal Government.
During a meeting with the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, led by its Chairman, Samuel Adewale, NSIWC officials discussed the status of the report and pension matters.
The meeting was held with the wages commission’s Chairman, Ekpo Nta, and details were provided in a statement from Emmanuel Njoku, the Head of the Commission’s Press Unit.
“The chairman of the commission informed his guests that the commission had forwarded to the government sometime in May 2023, its report on the harmonization of pensions for consideration after synthesizing inputs from relevant stakeholders, including pension unions, and the availability of funds, and that the commission was regularly following this up since it would have a bearing in considering pension increases in 2024,” the statement read in part.
Buttressing in a chat with Punch, Njoku said, “The raise is going to be in accordance with the negotiated minimum wage for Federal Government workers both in the current and previous pension schemes.”
Addressing the pensioners’ complaints of non-receipt of the payment of the recently approved palliatives, the NSIWC Chairman, noted that the relevant organs of government were addressing the issues.
According to the Commission, the Chairman of the Committee on Pension NUP-ASU/Parastals, Gabriel Oladele, who was among the delegates, urged the NWISC to intervene in the wrong computation of their consequential adjustments and the unreasonable deductions from their pensions after decades of enjoying the same.
Reacting, Nta said the commission would look into the two issues based on the documents the union had submitted.
He further told his guests that the commission’s circulars were usually issued after wide consultations with major stakeholders including the Federal Government.
The circulars, he furthered, had provisions for anyone to seek clarification, as no agency was authorized to unilaterally amend them without the NWISC’s written consent.
The NWISC in its statement stated, “Usually, where there is a cogent reason, a crossed-reference clarification circular is issued by the commission after the due process for record purposes.”
It said the chairman further explained that the Commission, being the secretariat of the Tripartite Committee of the National Minimum Wage, would ensure seamless preparations for the consideration of both a new national minimum wage and the accompanying pension review in 2024 as provided by the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 and Section 173(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“In response to a pensioner’s observation that the constitution provides for a ‘corresponding increase in pensions,’ he (NWISC chairman) stated that the word ‘corresponding’ was not used in Section 173(3). He further clarified that increases in allowances for serving officers cannot also be interpreted as increases in salaries,” the NWISC stated.
Nta further advised the union to negotiate with friendly Health Maintenance Organisations to provide affordable health insurance covers for their members after explaining how they could benefit from such services.
He urged the senior citizens, to in future, avail themselves of having scheduled free online zoom meetings with him, instead of embarking on expensive and hazardous trips from all over the country given their ages.