The Federal Government has spent N208.21bn on payment of pension and gratuity arrears in seven months, a new Central Bank of Nigeria report has revealed.
The CBN’s statistical record on the Federal Government’s monthly finances showed that the amount was spent between January and July, 2021, amid rising fiscal deficits.
The data showed that the Federal Government spent N30.26bn and N30.25bn on pensions and gratuities in January and February, respectively.
It also said the government spent N29.54bn each month from March to July.
The statistics also revealed that the Federal Government recorded N1.15tn, N394.53bn, N948.8bn and N664.5bn fiscal deficits in January, February, March and April.
It added that the Federal Government recorded N596.84bn, N615.84bn and N637.77bn fiscal deficits in May, June and July respectively.
Recently, the National Pension Commission had said the Federal Government released N31.97bn for the payment of accrued pension rights to 2021 retirees of treasury-funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The commission said this followed a recent release of N16.67bn in December.
It said, “The National Pension Commission is pleased to announce an additional release of N31.97bn by the Federal Government for the payment of accrued pension rights to 2021 retirees of Treasury-funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“This follows an earlier release of the sum of N16.67bn, thus bringing the total amount released for payment of the 2021 accrued pension rights to N48.64bn. The Federal Government had earlier settled all arrears of accrued pension rights payments to the verified and enrolled retirees up to December 2020.”
The accrued pension rights represent an employee’s benefits for the past years of service up to June 2004 when the Pension Reform Act that birthed the Contributory Pension Scheme came into effect, according to PenCom.
During a visit by the Senate Committee on Establishment & Public Services to PenCom in 2021, the pension regulator highlighted some of the major challenges facing commission and sought the support of the lawmakers.
PenCom decried the large number of Federal Government employees retiring from service under the Contributory Pension Scheme and experiencing delays in getting their pensions due to non-payment of their accrued pension rights.
“This challenge, which started in 2014, was essentially triggered by the appropriation of insufficient amounts for payment of accrued pension rights of FGN retirees and further aggravated by late or non-release of full appropriated amounts,” PenCom stated.
PenCom urged the National Assembly to intervene in the matter of payment of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government.