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FG discovers 8,000 ghost military pensioners

Posted by By James Ojo, Abuja on 2007/02/21 | Views: 720 |

FG discovers 8,000 ghost military pensioners


A shocking discovery of a staggering 8,000 ghost pensioners on the nominal roll of the Military Pensioners Board [MPB] has been given as the reasosn for the inability of the Federal Ministry of Finance to release funds for the payment of pensions and gratuity to military pensioners.

A shocking discovery of a staggering 8,000 ghost pensioners on the nominal roll of the Military Pensioners Board [MPB] has been given as the reasosn for the inability of the Federal Ministry of Finance to release funds for the payment of pensions and gratuity to military pensioners.

Rampaging military pensioners had blocked the Abuja-Keffi highway and subjected commuters to untold hardship, after months of waiting endlessly for the payment of their pensions and gratuity.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Nnenadi Usman told the House of Representatives Committee on Defence that the discovery contributed to the delay in the payment of genuine pensioners, as government had no intention of withholding payments to those that deserve payments.

. "Before the verification exercise that was carried out in 2006, the total number of military pensioners was 320,000, but after the exercise, it was discovered that 270,000 were the genuine military pensioners
Usman said that it was out of a strong determination to address the lingering issue of pensioners’ arrears that made the Federal Government to organize a verification exercise for all federal pensioners, including states pensioners, with federal share.

She explained that the exercise became imperative when the number of the military pensioners kept on increasing and government was determined to ensure that genuine pensioners are paid promptly.
To underscore the commitments of government, the minister noted that a total of N75 billion was earmarked in the 2006 budget to offset military pensions and gratuities, adding that out of this, N45 billion was paid to offset the outstanding arrears, leaving the balance of N30 billion.

Said she: "The sum of N75 billion was raised by the Federal Government from the financial market through issuance of bond to finance the settlement of the arrears. The fund was domiciled in pension arrears settlement account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). "
She said that the N30 billion is already there for the payment of military pensioners, adding that the N30 billion will be enough to pay the military pensioners.

Accountant General of the Federation [AGF], Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo in his submission insisted that there was no outstanding schedule of gratuity and death benefits of military pensioners in his office.
"However, we are aware that there are still beneficiaries at the payment centre whose gratuity and death benefits computations are yet to be forwarded to the OAGF by the MPB," he added.

In his contribution, Chairman of the Military Pension Board, Brig. Gen. B.V.T. Kwaji explained that problem arose when government stopped the payment of pensioners that were not supposed to be collecting pension and in order to solve the problems, he said that there should be adequate budgeting on logistic and timely release of funds for the payment exercise.

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