House of Reps Committee Probes Pension Agency

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has instituted an ad-hoc committee to audit the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD)  over various sums appropriated annually to the Agency since its inception in 2013.

The need for the audit follows the multiple queries raised by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation against PTAD.

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The Chairman of the Committee, Oluwole Oke announced the decision of the Committee during a hearing on the multiple queries with the management team of the Agency in Abuja.

The Committee lamented that despite trillions of Naira released to the Agency as yearly appropriation, pensioners were still crying about the non payment of their entitlements across the states of the Federation and the federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

The Ad-Hoc committee to be chaired by the Vice Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, Rep. Saa’d Abdulkadir was charged to take into account the utilisation of the agency’s capital and recurrent releases and ensuring they were in conformity with financial regulations.

“This is pathetic, on what basis do you justify the non or late payment to our teeming fathers and mothers who had spent the better part of their productive years serving the government in various capacities, we can not allow this ugly development to continue, the ad-hoc committee will have to look in to the activities of the Agency and come up with something that will guide the Committee to carry out its assignment, Rep Oke said.

The Committee also demanded for a comprehensive list of beneficiaries under the agency’s pension scheme as well as evidence of direct remittance to them on a monthly basis to enable it to verify the complaints of non-payments of the pension.

The PAC Chairman also instructed the committee clerk to write to the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, requesting PTAD’s bank statements over the years and a similar one to the Accountant General of the Federation AGF for copies of letters of releases for pension payment on monthly basis.

The leader of PTAD team, who is the Director Civil Service Pension in the Agency, Mr. Sulayman Shellong, while  testifying under oath admitted that for the financial year ending December 2020, the agency got a budgetary allocation of N124 billion out of which N119.2 billion was released and N127.9 billion was expended on pension payment and arrears to beneficiaries.

He said the balance was mopped up and paid into the consolidated revenue account at the end of the financial year and denied any infraction on the part of the agency in the area of pension to beneficiaries under its scheme.

While ordering the forensic audit on the finances of the pension agency Rep Oke mandated the Committee’s in-house Technical Team to do a thorough perusal of PTAD’s audited reports that originated the queries from the Auditor-General of the Federation  and submit an interim report which will form the basis of the next line of action on the Agency.

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