From Bayo Oyewale, Lokoja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kogi State chapter has warned the state Governor, Ahaji Yahaya Bello over the implementation of Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) insisting that it must not fail in the state.
The state Chairman of NLC, Com Onuh Edoka, who was speaking on the sensitisation programme organised by the state government to see reasons why civil servants should key into the scheme, on Tuesday, observed that the said CPS has failed in other states who adopted it.
Edoka, who assured the government of their unflinching support to test the scheme in Kogi State, however, noted that the union has no issue with the scheme since it is already backed by law and mandatory for all civil servants.
“We are equally thinking that government should kick-start the payment of this fund into an account where we believe the money has been kept safely and then the workers can now key into it.
“This scheme has been running in other states and has already failed and we don’t want to go into a scheme of that nature, where workers money will now be collected into an account, and government will spend the same money for other activities and give us excuses after excuses,” he said.
The NLC boss while admonishing the state government to be transparent in the scheme, vowed that NLC will resist any attempt aimed at shortchanging civil servants in Kogi State.
On the reason NLC is supporting the scheme despite reports of failure in other states, Edoka said, “We believe it may happen positively in Kogi State. We must not think because it has failed in other states, it will also fail in Kogi State. Let us believe in the positivity of Kogi State. Until it fails here, then we can now see how we can go about it.”
Earlier, the state Auditor General, who doubles as the Chairman, Technical Committee on the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), Yakubu Okala said the new pension scheme was introduced against the backdrop of the old Pay-As-You-Go scheme, which according to him, was unfunded, inefficient and marred by maladministration and above all corrupt practices.
He explained that in the case of the Federal Government, the system has incurred pension deficit liabilities to the tune of N2.3 trilllion introduced in the state during the former governor, Ibrahim Idris’ regime attributed the non-implementation of the scheme in the state to lack of political will on the part of past leaders.
He said that the present administration of Governor Bello had decided to bring civil servants into the scheme to address the myriad of challenges in administration of pension in the state.
“The system, at local government level made it almost impossible for pensioners to access their benefits as and when due. More so, gratuities and pensions were unsustainable. Often times, some pensioners died while waiting on a long queue without hope.”