President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of NGN22.68 billion to settle retirement benefits of staff of the liquidated Nigeria Airways. This was disclosed today by the Ministry of Finance in Abuja.
However, this amount falls short of the agreed sum of NGN45 billion as the total retirement benefits of the affected staff. According to the series of Tweets on the verified Twitter account the ministry, there was a discrepancy between what was claimed and what was verified: “Regarding the settlement of outstanding retirement benefits due to the Ex-workers of the Nigeria Airways, the initial submission for their retirement benefits was N78 billion.
“This amount was verified by Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) & other relevant stakeholders in line with the condition of service of Nigeria Airways Limited in liquidation and other extant rules and regulations. At the end of verification, N45 billion was agreed as total retirement benefits of affected staff”.
Regarding the approval, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, said: “As you might be aware, the Ex-workers of Nigeria Airways Limited (in Liquidation) were not paid their retirement benefits for the past 15 years. Many ex-workers have been through untold hardship. This unfortunate situation cannot be allowed to continue under a responsible admin”.
The Minister has also said she has set up a Committee to ensure that the Presidential directives are duly implemented in line with extant Financial Rules. The Committee is to be headed by the Secretary of Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), Dr. MK Dikwa (Mni).
Other members of the Committee are representatives from the following Offices: Head of Civil Service of the Federation; Federal Ministry of Aviation; Federal Ministry of Finance; Bureau of Public Enterprises; Accountant General of the Federation; Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD); Union of Ex-Workers of Nigeria Airways Limited (in Liquidation), and Budget Office of the Federation.
The Committee is expected to physically verify the claims of the Pensioners and relevant Next-of-Kin before the release of funds to the approved beneficiaries. Furthermore, other modalities are to be worked out by the Committee to ensure speedy payment, transparency and integrity of the process.