Pensioners appeal to President Tinubu for inclusion in National Health Insurance Scheme

Pensioners, through their various Unions have appealed to President Tinubu led federal government to include them in the National Health Insurance Scheme and re-appoint the Executive Secretary, Dr. Chioma Ejikemee for another term, positing that her continued stay will speed up actualisation and operationalisation of the scheme.

They spoke through their, General Secretary Federal Parastatals and Private Sector Pensioners Association of Nigeria (FEPPPAN) Mr. Franklin Enrile, and the National President of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr. Godwin Abumisi.

They expressed their concern over the skyrocketing cost of healthcare services in Nigeria and the economic hardship they suffer as retirees and the difficulty they go through in meeting their routine medical needs, to stay alive.

This necessitated their recent outcry for inclusion in the National Health Insurance Scheme, even as the Executive Secretary, Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), Dr. Chioma Ejikeme, a medical doctor by profession had already begun the process of bringing the pensioners onboard the scheme.

The Pensioners have also called on the Federal Government to increase pension side by side workers’ salaries even as they equally asked the president to ensure that pensioners’ interests are protected in the recent proposed palliative to cushion the economic hardship occasioned by fuel subsidy removal.

Mr Franklin Enrile, General Secretary FEPPPAN averred: “The ever-worried pensioners are appealing to President Tinubu to give immediate approval for healthcare scheme of pensioners and also reappoint Dr Ejikeme as Executive Secretary of PTAD, as her continued stay will speed up actualisation and operationalisation of the scheme and ensure fruition of other ongoing innovative ideas aimed at perfection of efficient and effective pension management and administration.”

He further said, “We urge the Federal Government to mercifully include the pensioners in the enjoyment of the National Health Insurance Scheme as workers do.

“It is worrisome and unexplainable that pensioners in a wealthy country like Nigeria don’t have any health insurance scheme. However, the feelers we got that PTAD has already proposed for a scheme like that has given us hope. Truth be told, it takes an empathetic person like Dr Chioma Ejikeme to think in that direction in the interest of the senior citizens. That is why we are urging Mr President to keep her in PTAD to finish what she has started.”

“Nigerian pensioners for many years experienced the worst kind of management and administration of pension in the world. It was like an endless dark tunnel. However, the story began to change in 2015 when former President Muhammadu Buhari came and backed the Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate with political will. Evidently, President Tinubu has toed that line. So, we are urging him to do more for us by approving healthcare scheme for us to give us easy access to medicare and live longer.

“We equally plead with President Tinubu to empower Dr Chioma Ejikeme the more by reappointing her, to enable her fine-tune all the wonderful innovative ideashe has introduced so far, such as ‘I Am Alive’ confirmation platform that has made verification of pensioners’ aliveness very easy and risk free for all the pensioners under the directorate’s payroll.

“Most important for us is her constant enthusiasm and empathetic dispositions in handling our issues for the few years she heads the agency. Although there are some complaints here and there and talks by people apparently from a point of view of less or zero knowledge of the Directorate’s modus operandi, PTAD under her watch has been a blessing to us. The records are there. Her innovative ideas have brought so much sanity to the management and administration of Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) pension.

“One unique thing that got PTAD going is the systematic way it implores in tackling the herculean task of transforming the DBS pension management and administration in the country from the dark days of ravaging corruption to a progressively, transparent, efficient and digitisation regime.”

At their recently held National Executive Council, FEPPPAN expressed satisfaction on the innovative ‘I Am Alive’ verification platform of PTAD.

The association said, “Most importantly, NEC-in-session showers encomium on the Executive Secretary for the innovative and easy assessing ‘I Am Alive’ confirmation solution platform that enables pensioners to carry out their verification exercise in the comfort of their homes. The ‘I Am Alive’ verification platform does not only ease the verification process, it also saves travelling risk and expenses.”

On his part, the National President of Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Godwin Abumisi, judged as effective and commendable, efforts of the PTAD towards sanitisation and management of pension administration in the country. He said the efforts had in no small measure eased the living condition of the Defined Benefit Scheme pensioners.

“PTAD’s introduction of ‘I Am Alive’ application software designed to routinely check the status of aliveness of pensioners and removing death cases from the database and payroll has eliminated the rigorous physical verification exercise but most importantly, saved the Federal Government billions of naira.

“The ‘I Am Alive’ confirmation solution has successfully taken away the pains and agonies which pensioners experienced. Before 2015, pensioners had to travel at night to Abuja to do verification, but that is in the past now. We now stay in the comfort of our homes and do the verification.

“We, therefore, score PTAD high on this giant stride and give kudos to the Executive Secretary, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, the entire management and staff of PTAD for their sheer sense of commitment and diligence for making it possible. They have done a lot of work for the pensioners. Particularly, the Executive Secretary goes out of her way to ensure that our issues are well treated. We are definitely expecting more from her.”

Meanwhile, the directorate has avowed its unflinching determination to enthrone the best management and administration in PTAD.This is as Dr Ejikeme, at the official launching of the internet-based ‘I Am Alive’ confirmation solutions verification platform, renewed the pledge of commitment of the directorate’s management and staff to continue working tirelessly to surmount both the long and short term challenges that face the agency and pensioners in its payroll.

She added that the steadfastness of PTAD to totally change the narrative and enthrone pension management and administration regime devoid of corruption, inefficiency, goes beyond regular and prompt payment of pensions to liquidating all pension arrears, accurate documentation of eligible pensioners, appropriation of exact monthly pensions and stress-free verification of all DBS retirees in payroll.

Dr Ejikeme also noted that the time and energy invested in the development of innovative ideas by PTAD management and staff and the backing the directorate got from the immediate past administration and the renewed determination of the President Bola Tinubu in the same direction, has changed the narrative and stories on the lips of DBS federal pensioners across the country.

Techrectory with Agency Report

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