NPAs pension fund hits N10bn


December 07, 2005/Source The PUNCH



There are fresh hopes for a sustainable payment of Nigerian Ports Authority pensioners’ entitlements as the market value of its workers pensions fund has hit over N10billion, almost double in value from between N4.5billion and N5billion over the past three years.

The Assistant General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NPA, Mr. Chris Borha, who disclosed this in an interview with our correspondents in Lagos on Tuesday, said that the management contributed 40 per cent out of the total staff emolument, representing about N245million, to the pension fund each month.

Although the pension fund value had been adjudged impressive, workers believe that the figure could have been over N34billion, which it was three years ago, had contributions to the fund not been neglected by previous administrations.

Borha, however, said, “It has been the cardinal principle and the priority of this administration to make sure that all administrative requirement for the sustainability of the pension fund is put in place and that we have been doing.”

He disclosed that about 7,500 pensioners are on the ports authority pensioners’ register while, on a monthly basis, pensions gulp N240million, gratuity N30million and death benefits sometimes hit N15million.

According to him, the NPA superannuation funds are already tied to investments in real estate and joint venture projects, which are professionally and exclusively managed for the benefit of the staff.

The Head of Public Communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, also spoke with our correspondents on the state of the NPA pension fund and the ongoing port concession envisaged to lead to downsizing of the labour force.

He said, “Let me say that there is a Presidential Task Force on Ports Concession, which is chaired by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, The presidential task force is currently negotiating the pay off with the labour and is yet to conclude the negotiation. The negotiation is on the staff severance packages and entitlements.”

The BPE spokesman denied allegations of the looting of the NPA staff pension funds, adding that although most staff pension funds of state-owned enterprises are not fully funded, this did not mean that they were looted.

“The staff pension funds of all government owned enterprises being privatised by the BPE are not dully funded, but this does not mean that the funds were looted,” he said.

On the likely approval of one-off payment of entitlements for the workers, he said that the presidential task force was negotiating with the workers, adding, “The task force will also determine the source of funding the entitlements/severance package of the workers.

Anichebe said that a fresh audit of NPA’s staff to be carried out soon, and proper determination of the functions of the NPA in the landlord port model, would determine the actual number out of the 13,000 staff that would be laid off.

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