How has been the exercise so far?
This is likely to be the last verification exercise for the Civil Service pension department. You know we started the verification in 2015 with the six geo political zones. North central is the last geo political zone, so FCT, Nasarawa and Niger are the final states that we are doing and with this we have concluded verification for Civil Service pensioners. You know in PTAD, we have four operational departments so for this operation department, (i.e the Civil Service pension, we have concluded verifications and the essence of this verification is for us to build a credible data base so that pensioners will not need to come out again for another incessant verification.
What are your expectations on the verification?
Well the exercise is going on well and we expect PTAD to meet up the expectation of verifying pensioners by giving them their entitlements as at when due after the verification.
What is the total number of pensioners in the FCT?
We are expecting 6,000 in the FCT but in the course of the exercise, people are coming from other states who are not residents here, but we will still go ahead and verify them.
You have done several verifications this year, what are your preliminary findings?
Some of my findings is that there are a lot of pensioners that were taking off the payroll, now with this exercise, genuine pensioners have now been inserted back on the payroll, then there were also pensioners that were taken off the payroll due to lack of BVN on their accounts. We did that exercise in 2016 and they are now presenting their BVN numbers and we are placing them back.
How soon will payments begin after verification?
This is the first time PTAD is carrying out verification for Civil Service pensioners in the FCT and this will be the last and final verification bearing in mind that we inherited payroll and data from the Head of Service who was previously handling the Civil Service pension payment.
Also those who are on the payroll will receive their salary for December well before the 25 of December. However, those we have just verified who have never been on payroll will have to wait because after the field exercise, their papers will go through computation and the auditors will have to pass it, therefore it will take about three – four months so that our processes of checks and balance are put in place because verification is not automatic payment.
Pensioners complain getting as low as N3,000 or even 2,000 as pension, why is it so small?
Mine is to pay because I am not their employer. Through their pension unions, they can work that out something with their employers for increment but for PTAD, we are here to pay and we never employed them and we don’t know what salary template they use.
What is your take on fraudsters impersonating PTAD?
I have notified our pensioners because this is very important. Like I said earlier, we inherited the data from the former head of service office on pension. So a lot of our pensioners are being called by fraudsters demanding for money to process their pension. The fraudsters will give them their correct name, account number and tell them they are about to pay their pension but before they could do that, the pensioners should pay certain amount of money. So we are making it clear to our pensioners that these are not PTAD staff and are just remnants from the last office that used to pay them. We are actually giving out fraud alert to our pensioners that there are numbers to call to report such incidences.
Also, at every verification point, we have ICPC and EFCC on ground without notice so we can apprehend fraudsters who are cheating our senior citizens.