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By NBF News
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By Favour Nnabugwu
Strong indications have emerged that the Federal Government may be jeopardising the lives of its employees under the group life scheme if the N3.6billion provided for by the government is not released to the Head of Service, just as Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, settled N1.4billion claims to families of 554 deceased civil servants.

The Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, disclosed this, in Abuja, recently during the presentation of cheques to next-of-kins of deceased civil servants witnessed by the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel.

According to him, 'It is instructive to note that though provision was made to the tune of N3.6 billion under the year 2011 appropriation for payment of these backlog claims, that amount was not released to this office.'

He explained that the HoS is making frantic effort to address the issues through the Budget office in order to ensure that the money is released to the office for onward payment.

Meanwhile, Pension Fund Administrators have settled N1. 4 billion claims to families of 554 deceased employees of the Federal Government employees that died in active service.

A breakdown of the death claims paid showed that the PFAs had in December 2009 settled 365 death claims amounting to N904.512 million paid by 24 insurers and just recently paid claims of N506.241 million for 189 death claim totaling claims of N1.41 billion for 554 deceased civil servants.

The N506.2 million claims was recently paid by 14 PFAs namely AIICO Pension Ltd; Amana Capital Pension: ARM Pension Managers Ltd; Crusader Sterling Pension; APT Pension; First Guarantee pensions Ltd; Sigma Vaughn Sterling Pensions Ltd and Legacy Pension Managers Ltd.

Others include; NLPC Pension Fund Administrators Ltd; Pension Alliance Ltd; Premium Pension Ltd' Trust Fund Pensions Ltd; Leadway Pensure PFA Ltd and Stanbic IBTC Pension managers Ltd.

The HoS while commending the PFAs said that the Federal Government has initiated the installation of an electronic monitoring device to facilitate settlement of death benefit claims of deceased federal civil servants in the country.

Bello Sali observed that the payment of the death benefits to relatives of the deceased federal employees was in compliance with the provisions of Section 9 (3) of the Pension Reform Act, 2004 which states that 'Every employer with not less than five employees must insure the lives of the employees to a minimum of three times their total annual emolument and that in the event of death of any of such employees, the next kin is paid 300 percent of officer's annual emolument.'

He recalled that the implementation of the scheme was flagged off for Federal Government employees in 2008 with the payment of N4 billion to the appointed consortium of 24 insurance companies for provision of insurance cover for that year, confirming that a total of 365 death claims amounting to N904.512 million were settled by 2009.