From Uche Usim, Abuja

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) is seeking ways and means to recover over N40 billion unremitted investments proceeds undertaken by various underwriters on behalf of many defunct agencies which the Directorate has inherited their liabilities.

The Directorate also said over N17 billion has been spent so far on settling various outstanding pension arrears, adding that huge progress will be recorded in pension payouts upon receipt of the N40 billion currently trapped with underwriters.

The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, made the disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday at the official finalisation of the payment of inherited unfunded liabilities to pensioners of defunct federal agencies.

According to her, the significant thing with the event was that the Directorate used the occasion to announce the complete settlement of the liabilities of two defunct agencies; the New Nigerian Newspapers and the Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation.

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“We’re no longer owing them arrears. In terms of the liabilities we have with the investments with the insurance underwriters, we have some of them that haven’t remitted the funds that they have; almost N40 billion. If we are able to get the money, it will go a long way to help us liquidate the remaining liabilities.

“The pension liabilities that are to be paid today are the arrears which accumulated between the time, when the lump sum pension was earlier paid to October 2018 when the disengaged ex-workers were enrolled to the monthly pension by PTAD, and therefore represent the unfunded pension liabilities that were due to these pensioners at the time the Directorate inherited them.

“We will today complete the payment of all outstanding liabilities due to ex-workers of two of the defunct agencies namely; Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation (total 126 inherited months completely liquidated) & New Nigeria Newspapers Limited (Total 219 inherited Months Completely liquidated). We will also settle a significant portion of the outstanding liabilities due to the ex-workers of another three Defunct Agencies — NICON Insurance Corporation, Delta Steel Company Limited and NITEL/MTEL. The Directorate did not inherit any pension assets from these Defunct/Privatized Agencies to help offset these liabilities at the time of take-over,” she explained.

Earlier in her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, hailed PTAD for restoring hopes of pensioners, adding that the Directorate has automated its operations to make them seamless.

She specifically applauded PTAD for paying N1.6 billion to 597 ex-Biafran soldiers, among other settlements.