EFCC rallies stakeholders against pension fraud
The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa, on Tuesday, called for concerted action by all stakeholders in ensuring an efficient, effective and fraud-free pension system in Nigeria.
The EFCC chairman stated this in his opening address at the commencement of a two-day National Summit tagged, Eradication of Pension Fraud in Nigeria, at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja.
According to him, the EFCC as the coordinating agency for the enforcement of all economic and financial crimes laws is conversant with the rot in the pension sector.
“We have investigated and documented hundreds of billions of Naira lost to fraud in the pension industry. However, beyond the money, is also the unquantifiable loss of dignity in the retiree who has to grovel and beg (and even die in some instances) in order to access his contributions.
”It is the shame of a nation that those who have contributed their most productive years to us in various capacities have to go through hell to live in retirement. We worry about the quality of regulation, the fidelity of pension managers and the inefficiency in the management of pension assets which have grave consequences for the national economy, not to talk of the perception of Nigeria as a country where anything criminal is possible”, he said.
All of these, he said, provide the impetus for a national conversation and concerted action from everyone involved in pension management and regulation.
According to him, the two-day Summit offers the stakeholders the opportunity “to introspect and take stock of the measures put in place over the years to improve and sanitize pension administration in Nigeria, as well as seek explanations as to why the pension system seems not to be meeting the needs or living up to the yearnings of pensioners despite the best intentions of industry stakeholders
”….It is our belief that in pooling our resources and expertise together, we can break the cycle of fraud, inefficiency and mutual distrust in the Nigerian pensions system”.
The EFCC boss said the overarching objective of the Summit, is “to have a pensions system that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of its most important, most venerable and most vulnerable stakeholder – the pensioner”.
He, therefore, charged the participants, “to reach deep into treasure troves of knowledge and come up with pragmatic programmes and policy recommendations that will ultimately engender significant improvement in service delivery and eliminate the gaps currently being exploited by the negative actors in the pension system.
”We owe that to the hapless pensioner out there, who we may ourselves become tomorrow”.
Bawa assured that the Commission, “will continue to vigorously enforce all the laws against fraud in Nigeria”
” I assure you that we are both willing and able to do all that is necessary today to ensure that tomorrow when we all cross to the other side of the road in retirement, we will truly live the life of the models in the PFA adverts and commercials!”
He further commended President Muhammadu Buhari administration for its support to the fight against corruption.
In his words, “one thing that is incontestable as far as Mr. President is concerned, is that when it comes to the fight against corruption, there is no deficit of political will to take hard and difficult decisions”.
The special guest of honour and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha who described pension fraud as heinous, insensitive and condemnable, commended the synergy among the stakeholders which he said will permit analysis of the causes of pension fraud and the measures to check them.
He said the government was conscious of its responsibility in the pension sector and resolve to deal with criminal acts of pension fraud in all ramifications.
He disclosed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has demonstrated a rare commitment to ameliorating the plight of pensioners through various administrative and policy interventions.
He listed some of the initiatives of the administration targeted at making life more meaningful for pensioners to include, the release of N55billion to settle outstanding pension arrears, placement of 3,542 pensioners of the Delta Steel Company on the payroll, placement of over 2000 staff of the defunct Nigerian Telecommunication Limited,( NITEL,)on the payroll, approval of funds to pay the entitlement of dismissed Biafran Police Officers and the settlement of claims of disengaged staff of defunct Nigeria Airways.
He commended the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa for the vigour and vibrancy he has brought to the leadership of the agency.
Goodwill messages were presented by prominent stakeholders including, Sulaiman Abbah, chairman, Police Pension; Professor Sadiq Radda, Executive Secretary, PACAC, who stood in for the Chairman, Professor Itse Sagay; Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress, and Clement Akintola, Executive Commissioner, Inspectorate, PPENCOM, who stood in for the Director-General, National Pension Commission, (PENCOM), Aisha Dahir-Umar.
Presenting a paper entitled, “Case Study: Analysis of Fraud in Pension Administration in Nigeria, The EFCC Experience”, Abdulkarim Chukkol, Director of Operations, EFCC, highlighted the gaps in the existing pension arrangements frequently exploited by criminal elements in both the public and private sectors.
He noted that the country has lost several billions of naira in the process. He however identified improved staff training, proper internal control, an improved reporting system and severe penalty as measures that could help check the incidence of pension fraud.
Exclusive! Hope rises on take-off of proposed $3bn Badagry Deep Seaport as NPA, APMT resume discussion
The approval was finalised following a presentation by the Federal Ministry of Transportation at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) during the last administration of President Mohammed Buhari.
According to officials, the port is expected to generate $53.6 billion in revenue over the 45 years concession period.
The proposed site of the project is located 55km west of Apapa and the port of Lagos, along the 55km long Lagos-Badagry Expressway, which is being upgraded from a four-lane to a ten-lane expressway.
The port is expected to have an annual throughput capacity of 1.8 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs).
The proposal for the project was announced in 2012. Feasibility studies have been completed and construction works are yet to start.
The project will be implemented in four phases, with the overall project cost estimated to range between $2 billion and $3 billion.
Also, it is expected that the new port will primarily ease pressure on the existing ports of Lagos, Apapa and Tin-Can Ports, which handle approximately 85 percent of the country’s non-oil throughput.
It will further alleviate the burden on the country’s existing ports, which are on the verge of exceeding their cargo handling capacities, and address the country’s annual container traffic, which is expected to grow to 10 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units by 2030.
Plans for the adjoining Badagry Free Trade Zone will include a power plant, oil refinery, industrial park and warehousing and Inland Container Deport functions.
Jamoh, Bello- Koko, serial award winners, bag National Productivity merit awards
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, is gradually turning into a serial award winner as he has landed yet another plaque of honour from the federal government.
An excited Jamoh expressed appreciation to the Federal Government, noting that it is a call to greater service to our Fatherland.“I am spurred by this award, particularly as it is coming from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, which underscores the ministry’s role in ensuring reward for hard work and productivity in public service”
“Let me also use this opportunity to dedicate the award to the industry’s stakeholders; external and internal, as they have made our work easier as an administration.
“We will continue to strive to make the maritime sector a viable economic driver, especially with the Blue Economy mantra, which is critical to the sustainability of the maritime sector”, Jamoh said.
Commenting the on the selection of the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, the DG said it is a well-deserved honour, as she has remained a core professional and astute administrator in the coordination of activities in the Ministry and the Agencies under the supervision of the Ministry.
“I am not surprised by her selection, as she is an administrator par excellence and has remained resolute and professional in the discharge of her duties.
”This conferment can only spur me and the entire team at the Nigerian Ports Authority whose commitment to exceptional performance culminated in this recognition, to continue pushing the limit and advancing the frontiers of trade facilitation.
”Imbued with the understanding that excellence is a moving target, I want to seize this moment to assure that we will not rest on our laurels in our resolve to turn our rich maritime potentials into actualities’, an elated Koko declared.
The National Productivity Order of Merit Award was instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria to recognize and honour productive individuals and organizations in Nigeria in the year of the award for achievements made in the preceding years.
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