By Favour Nnabugwu
The federal government spent rover N200billion on civil servants, pensioners and on gratuities in seven months in 2021.
The reports showed that between January and July last year, the sum of ₦208.21bn was dispensed to clear gratuities, pay for workers salaries and as well settle aggrieved pensioners.
The sum of ₦30.26bn and ₦30.25bn was spent on pensions and gratuities respectively between January and February.
The record revealed that the government spent ₦29.54bn each month from March to July last year. The Federal Government recorded ₦1.15tn, ₦394.53bn, ₦948.8bn and ₦664.5bn fiscal deficits in January, February, March and April.
Also, the respective sum; ₦596.84bn, ₦615.84bn and ₦637.77bn was spent by the government on fiscal deficits in May, June and July respectively.
The National Pension Commission recently said the Federal Government released ₦31.97bn for the payment of accrued pension rights to 2021 retirees of treasury-funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The commission said this followed a recent release of ₦16.67bn in December.
It said, “The National Pension Commission is pleased to announce an additional release of N31.97bn by the Federal Government for the payment of accrued pension rights to 2021 retirees of Treasury-funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“This follows an earlier release of the sum of ₦16.67bn, thus bringing the total amount released for payment of the 2021 accrued pension rights to ₦48.64bn. The Federal Government had earlier settled all arrears of accrued pension rights payments to the verified and enrolled retirees up to December 2020.”
The accrued pension rights, represent civil servant’s benefits for the past years of service up to June 2004 when the Pension Reform Act that birthed the Contributory Pension Scheme came into effect, according to PenCom.
The pension regulator had during a visit by the Senate Committee on Establishment & Public Services to PenCom in 2021, lamented some of the challenges facing the commission and sought the support of the lawmakers to resolve such.
PenCom decried the large number of Federal Government employees retiring from service under the Contributory Pension Scheme and experiencing delays in getting their pensions due to non-payment of their accrued pension rights.
It said: “This challenge, which started in 2014, was essentially triggered by the appropriation of insufficient amounts for payment of accrued pension rights of FGN retirees and further aggravated by late or non-release of full appropriated amounts.”
PenCom urged the National Assembly to intervene in the matter of payment of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government