The Lagos State government through the Ministry of Establishment Training and Pensions has organised a workshop to sensitise and prepare its staff for life after retirement.
The State says the need becomes imperative in order to create a smooth transition for the retirees, for them to enjoy a better life after service.
At a two-day workshop tagged: “Preparing for life after retirement: Understanding the Contributory Pension Scheme”, the Lagos State Commissioner for Establishment Training and Pensions, Dr. Akintola Benson-Oke said that the whole essence of the training was to ensure that all public servants and especially those who are nearing retirement are trained on the implications of the laws and regulations relating to the Contributory Pension scheme, with a view to ensuring that they can adequately prepare for the future.
Benson-Oke explained that the State, under the leadership of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has demonstrated its commitment to the implementation of the Pension Reforms Act of 2014 which was first passed as the Pension Reform Act of 2004, stressing that the provisions of the Act, as domesticated in the laws of Lagos State have been honoured to the letter under the Ambode’s administration.
“This administration is proud to state that the diligent pursuit of the Lagos State Pension Reform Law has yielded fruits such that the pension obligations of the State are now managed to the satisfaction of the officers of the public service.
Lagos State has also ensured that the vision of LASPEC to provide first class regulatory and supervisory services on pension matters to all stakeholders in the Lagos State public service is within reach while the mission to provide exceptional services on pension matters to employees in the Lagos State Public Service is faithfully fulfilled year-on-year” he said
The Commissioner who stated that being the first State in Nigeria to domesticate the provision of Pension Reform Act 2014 Lagos, has also complied with it’s provisions. The state has also invested immensely in education of administrators of pension regulations and also in the sensitisation of the public officers who are the most affected.
The Commissioner also stated that one of the ways the economy stands to benefit from the law is through the scheme’s ability to support the overall macroeconomic policies of reform.
“The government stands to enjoy benefits under the law. The law will continue to stem further growth of pension obligations and provide a platform for addressing this liability.
It will also impose fiscal discipline in the budgetary process because pension obligations would be accurately determine.
Aside from the law’s now realised potential to promote national savings and by implication, economic growth, funded pension scheme have the capacity to promote capital market development” Benson-Oke stressed.
He also mentioned that the State Pension Commission (LASPEC) plays a critical role to regulate, supervise and ensure the effective administration of pension matters in the State Public service in accordance with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004 which the Law domesticated.
Although, the Commissioner highlighted some of the challenges of pension administration in the State which included funding, irregular pension payment and rigorous exercise of verification of pensioners, he stressed that the Commission has been addressing those challenges.
He pointed out that with numerous programs designed by the government on the State Contributory Scheme, the retiring public officers now look forward to retirement with more confident and joy.
Preparing for the future
One of the facilitators at the workshop, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe said that the training was apt as it would prepare retirees on how to manage life before and after service.
The VC, who enjoined the participants to prepare themselves by making savings, having program plans that would assist them after service years, said that the Contributory Pension Scheme would allow the Lagos State public servants to get prepared and key into the next phase of life.
Prof. Pat Utomi who was in attendance at the event emphasised the importance of planning after retirement saying that every public servants must have a focus of where to be after service and work towards it.
According to him “The life cycle is very clear, the day we were born, we know we are going to die and we must ensure we develop ourselves.
It’s the duty of anybody who is entering the workplace to do a career map for the next fifteen to twenty years with the expectation that at the age of 60, he will exit the system. And after retirement, how he will live the rest of 20years or there about.”
Also the Director General, Lagos State Pension Commission LASPEC, Mrs Folashade Onanuga assured that Lagos State Government through LASPEC would continue to support and give assistance that will add value to their lives in retirement.
She said that prioritising pensioners’ welfare in the State has moral, economic, strategic and social effects and the State would not fail in it’s commitment in that regard.