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​‘Lagos committed to pension payment’

The  Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) is committed to effective pension administration,Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has said.
He spoke at opening of the workshop tagged: ‘The role of LASPEC in the administration of the Lagos State Contributory Pension Scheme Law’ organised by the agency for its officers.
The governor, represented by the Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr Akintola Benson, pledged the prompt payment of the state’s retirees and pensioners.
He said the LASPEC was empowered to ensure the smooth administration of pensions  under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
He stressed that LASPEC was established by the  state’s CPS Law of 2007 to regulate, supervise and ensure the effective administration of pension matters in the public service in accordance with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004.
He noted that before the law came into being, the Federal and state governments, under the old dispensation, operated the Defined Benefits (DB) Pension Scheme, popularly referred to as the ‘Pay as You Go’(PAYG) scheme.
He said: “Under this scheme, pension benefits were defined using the vesting scale which relied on the length of service and final emoluments of an employee. The benefits were thus easily calculated by employees. Employees, who had spent five to nine years in service were entitled to a lump sum payment referred to as gratuity, while those who had spent ten years and more were entitled to both the gratuity and monthly pension payment.
“As with the Federal scheme, the state schemes were also fraught with problems such as lack of adequate funding, irregular pension payments and the rigorous exercise of verification of pensioners. In line with modern global changes, the Federal Government on June 27, 2004 changed from the Defined Benefit scheme to the CPS with the signing into law of the Pension Reform Act 2004, which set up the National Pension Commission (Pencom) to regulate and supervise the scheme and register the operators of the scheme.
“The government, against the background of challenges with the Defined Benefit scheme, also adopted the new scheme and became the first State in Nigeria to commence the CPS with the signing into law on19th March 2007 of the Lagos State Pension Reform Law 2007 and eventual commencement in July 2009.”
He said that since then, LASPEC has assisted all persons in the employment of the State Government to save towards their retirement,  ensured that persons who leave or retire from the Public Service of the State receive their terminal or retirement benefits as and when due.
“LASPEC has also establish a set of rules and regulations for the administration and payment of retirement benefits in the Public Service of the State, established the group life policy for death benefits of employees, whilst in service, as well as the Retirement Bond for employees with past service benefits and the Redemption Fund from which the liability of the bond payment would be made.
“The Vision of LASPEC is to provide first-class regulatory and supervisory services on pension matters to all stakeholders in the Lagos state public service while the mission is to provide exceptional services on pension matters to employees in the Lagos State Public Service.”
Benson further said that it is based on this that the Ministry of Establishment, Training and Pensions has consistently trained LASPEC officers on the extent of the statutory powers of LASPEC, the internal organisation of LASPEC, the issued-guidelines for the execution of the mandate of LASPEC, and the overview of the identity and nature of the stakeholders in the administration of the pension law.

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