By Lucy Ogalue
The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), says its circulars are issued after consultations with the Federal Government and major stakeholders.
The Chairman of the Commission, Mr Ekpo Nta, clarified this when he played host to the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (All Sectoral Units/Parastatals) Nationwide in Abuja.
The chairman of the committee, Sir Samuel Adewale, led the team on the visit.
According to Nta, the circulars have provisions for anyone to seek clarification, and no agency is authorised to unilaterally amend them without its written consent.
“Usually, where there is a cogent reason, the Commission issues a crossed-reference Clarification Circular, after due process for record purposes.
“The Commission, being the Secretariat of the Tripartite Committee of the National Minimum Wage, will ensure seamless preparations for considering a new National Minimum Wage.
“It also prepares the accompanying pension review in 2024 as provided by the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 and Section 173 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), respectively.
While responding to a pensioner’s observation that the Constitution provides for a “corresponding increase in pensions,” Nta said the word “corresponding” was not used in Sect. 173 (3).
He clarified that increased allowances for serving officers could not be interpreted as salary increases.
The NSIWC’s boss informed his guests that the Commission had in May forwarded its report on the harmonisation of pensions to the government for consideration.
He said this was done after synthesising inputs from relevant stakeholders, including pension unions, and the availability of funds.
Nta said the Commission regularly followed this up as it had a bearing on considering pension increases in 2024.
Responding to their complaints of non-receipt of the payment of recently approved palliatives, he said the relevant organs of government were addressing the issues.
He said the Commission would look into the issues raised by the committee based on the documents the Union had submitted.
He advised the union to negotiate with friendly health maintenance organisations to provide affordable health insurance coverage for its members after explaining how they could benefit from such services.
Nta then urged the senior citizens to avail themselves of having scheduled free online Zoom meetings with him in the future.
Given their ages, he said this was better than embarking on expensive and hazardous trips from all over the country.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee on Pension NUP-ASU/Parastatals, Comrade Gabriel Oladele, urged the Chairman to intervene on the issues of wrong computations of their consequential adjustments.
After decades of enjoying the same, Oladele also called for redress for the alleged unreasonable deductions from their pensions. (NAN)
Edited by Chidinma Agu/Ese E. Eniola Williams