N5.779bn pension fund missing, Niger gov. cries out

A forensic audit carried out by the Niger State Government over the misery surrounding the whereabouts of the alleged missing N6.6billion pension fund shows that N5.779 billion was not remitted to the pension board.

In an address at the “sensitization workshop on effective management and administration” on Tuesday  in Minna, Governor Sani Bello disclosed that the unremitted fund was part of the 7.5 percent employer/employee deductions made on behalf of the Niger State Universal Basic Education and Local Government Areas between 2007 and March 2015.

Our correspondent learnt that the last administration in the state had truncated the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme law by suspending the 7.5 employer/employee contributions for both state and local governments in March 2015.

The development, which was described by labour leaders as a “policy somersault”, triggered unrest across the state as retirees caught in the web could not access their  fund from the Pension Administrators.

Shedding light on the anomaly today, Gov Bello who was represented by his deputy, Ahmad Muhammad Ketso revealed that” government has carried out forensic audit of the transactions of Contributory Pension Scheme in the state during the period under review and has established that the sum of N5.779 billion was clearly verified as funds not remitted to the Pension Board.”

Bello said government has consequently set up a committee headed by the deputy governor to ensure that the “stolen funds are recovered to the coffers of government for the benefit of workers.”

He assured pension contributors that government would ensure that every amount of money deducted as pension contributions since the introduction of the Contributory Pension Scheme in 2007 till date would be accounted for and applied judiciously in accordance with the law.

He also promised that government would work with the various stakeholders towards clearing the bureaucratic bottlenecks that impedes the smooth implementation of the new pension bill once the State House of Assembly passes it into law.

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