Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Thursday that the Federal Government had blocked loopholes in the old pension administration scheme, where over 15,000 ghost pensioners were included in government payroll system.
Speaking at a forum for stakeholders organised by the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, where pensioners and other stakeholders in the pension system gathered to interact, Okonjo-Iweala said that the Federal Government has been able to save N2.1bn annually in less than two years after the establishment of PTAD.
She said 14 individuals, whose identity she kept secret, were currently standing trial in the law court over the pensions probe initially carried out by the National Assembly in 2013, in which N32bn was allegedly squandered.
While receiving commendations for bringing sanity into the pension scheme, Okonjo-Iweala said through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems, PTAD had been able to consolidate several accounts in commercial banks, holding pension funds, that had been prone to looting to three or four.
“These interventions have led to concrete, real life improvements in the lives of our pensioners. For example, the Civil Service Pension, which has the bulk of pensioners managed by PTAD, has seen the removal of over 15,000 duplicated or ghost pensioners from its payroll, leading to savings of about N2.1bn annually,” she stated.
At the event, the Director-General of PTAD, Ms. Nellie Mayshak, said the major success of the agency was checking dubious financial transactions in commercial banks, which pensioners’ funds were hitherto channelled for personal gains.