The Nigeria Union of Pensioners has lamented that some pensioners still earn as low as N4,000 a month despite the high rate of inflation occasioned by the devaluation of the naira.
The NUP, therefore, called on the government to ensure that as the national minimum wage is about to be reviewed upward, there is a minimum amount which pensioners can earn.
The National President of the NUP, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said this at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said, “It will interest you to know that some pensioners still earn as low as N4,000 when the current minimum wage is N18,000.
“Recently I bought a bag of rice for N16,500. With the present economic situation in the country, it is unacceptable.
“It is inhuman for any worker or pensioner to earn less than N30,000 monthly. Whatever is finally approved as the national minimum wage should also apply to pensioners as national minimum pension with a corresponding circular clearly stating minimum pension.”
Afolayan said that having served for 35 years or more, it would be wrong to neglect senior citizens.
He asked Nigerians to join the push for national minimum pension because every worker will one day become a pensioner.
While thanking the Federal Government for the release of N22.4bn to settle the long-awaited pension liabilities of the defunct Nigerian Airways, Afolayan said there was a need for the federaland state governments to do more.
The NUP President lamented that the Federal Government had yet to pay the 12-month arrears of the 33 per cent pension increase since 2010.
He said all pensioners would picket the office of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate if their demands were not met within 21 days.
Afolayan added, “Another important issue is the non-payment of the balance of 12-month arrears of the 33 per cent pension increase of 2000. Needless to say, the payment of the balance of the arrears is long overdue.
“We had made several submissions and appeals at different fora to the Federal Government through PTAD for this payment but to no avail.
“Consequently and having been pushed to the wall, we are compelled to issue a 21-day ultimatum to PTAD in compliance with extant labour laws after which if no payment is made. Pensioners would embark on a protest to picket PTAD and other relevant offices.”
Speaking with our correspondent, however, the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Sharon Ikeazor, urged the pensioners to be patient.
IKeazor said the 12-month arrears was a 2010 matter. She added that PTAD had already begun taking steps to clear them.
She said, “The arrears they are being owed have been there since 2010. We just paid the police 12-month arrears in August as well as that of customs, immigration and prisons service.
“It only remains the civil service pension department that the outstanding is 12 months and they will be cleared as government releases money. The arrears of the parastatals is 24 months but they will all be cleared.”