Lagos State House of Assembly

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday said it had the intention of adding value to pension administration in the state.

The Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, disclosed this at a Public Hearing on a Bill for a Law to Amend the Lagos State Pension Reform Law 2007 in Lagos.

The proposed amendments affect are targeted at 22 sections of the 77-section law.

The speaker, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said that the assembly was determined to make the state pension scheme better.

“We will ensure that enough funds are included in the budget to ensure that we have enough funds to cater for pensioners,’’ Obasa said.

He said that the contributions of the stakeholders would be factored into the final draft of the bill.

In her contributions, Mrs Funlola Odunlami, the Director General of the Lagos State Pension Commission, said there were two sets of pensioners in the state’s pension scheme.

She said that the state paid its pensions promptly and had cleared a backlog of four years.

“We are now on a smooth sail; the backlog that his excellency met from 2011- 2015 has been cleared.

“Now, his excellency has said there will be additional funds for the next phase,’’ she said.

Mr Lekan Ogunbanwo, a former Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Television advocated an extension of the retirement age of specialists in health sector from 60 years to 65 or 70 years.

He said that such specialists in health sector still had much to contribute at 60.

Also speaking, Mrs Josephine Williams, a former Head of Service in the state, commended the Assembly for efforts on the bill.

Williams urged the lawmakers to clarify academic staff in professorial cadre that would enjoy 100 per cent of their terminal benefits as pension for life.

Earlier in his welcome address, Mr Dayo Famakinwa, the Chairman House Ad hoc Committee on Establishments, Training, Pension and Public Service, said that the amendment would further enhance the state’s pension scheme.

“There are no issues regarding pension fund administration in Lagos State. The pension scheme in the state has been running smoothly for the past 15 years.

“This will ensure that those who have served the state and those still in service have access to pensions that can sustain them,” he said.

The Majority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, explained that the amendment would put the reform in perspective and make the administration of pension law more effective.

The amended section 14 in the bill states that the contributions for any employee shall be a minimum of 10 per cent by the employer and a minimum of eight per cent by the employee.

The amended section 41 states that the state government, in line with the regulations made by the commission, shall establish, invest, manage funds to be known as the Retirement Benefits Bond Redemption for the benefit of specified retirees of the public service.

It states that the government shall establish a pension benefit shortfall account to meet obligations to political appointees, who by virtue of the terms and condition of their employment are to retire with full benefit.

It adds that the state government obligation to the Retirement Benefit Redemption Fund shall be first line charge on the consolidated revenue of the state.

Section 62 in the amendment says that the commission shall establish and maintain a fund to be known as the Pension Protection Fund for the benefits of eligible pensioners.

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