Pensioners in Rivers State have expressed mixed feelings over the new Rivers State Contributory Pensions Reform Bill passed into law by the state House of Assembly.
Coordinator of retirees , Mr. Lucky Ati, in his reaction shortly after the passage of the bill at the Assembly complex, attributed the successful passage to God, saying it was an answer to prayers of pensioners in the state.
According to him, “for us who have been agitating, our prayers have been answered to our agitation for amendment”
Ati noted, however, that they had asked for an outright abrogation of the law, saying, though we asked for outright abrogation because we’re feeling for brothers and sisters that are still in service”
He reasoned that government has not made preparations to accommodate those still in service who will be retiring by July 1, this year.
Some pensioners applauding the state House of Assembly, however, expressed worry that the new pension law was not in alignment with the national pensions policy.
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In his response, Mr. Precious Omuku, while expressing happiness, regretted that the new law was a deviation from the National Contributory Pensions Scheme for workers to contribute equally with the government.
He pointed out that the new law stipulates that both workers and government are to contribute 7.5% each, while the national policy on contributory pensions states that workers were to contribute 5% while the government was to contribute 10%.
He expressed dismay that though this disparity was pointed out during the public hearing, it was not taken into cognisance by the committee, describing it as “a big blow to the law”
Pensioners in Rivers who were denied payments due to previous Pension law passed by the previous administration has led to constant public peaceful protests by retirees.