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[News] Senate wants bailout for pensioners’ N174bn pension arrears

ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the current financial challenges faced by pensioners in the country by providing a bailout fund to redeem all Federal Government pension indebtedness amounting to about N174billion.

                                              Osun Pensioners

This is even as the House of Representatives mandated its Committees on Finance, Housing and Urban Development and Regional Planning to investigate the non-remittance of N5.6 billion by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

The upper legislative chamber, which made the call, yesterday, during plenary, insisted that provision of bailout for pensioners’ N174bn billion arrears was the only viable alternative to save the ugly plight of the nation’s retired workers. In his comment, the Senate president, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, described pension as a serious issue and assured that the National Assembly would use its legislative powers to intervene so as to alleviate the sufferings of the retired citizens.

Meanwhile, the resolution to investigate the Federal Mortgage Bank was sequel to a motion co-sponsored by Ossai Ossai and Victor Nwokolo, both lawmakers from Delta State. While moving the motion on the floor of the House, Ossai noted that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria was established to provide long-term credit facilities which would encourage mortgage institutions at state and federal levels.

He said: “Between 2011 and 2015, the bank generated a total revenue of N44.073 billion, with N13.17 billion of having it been generated in 2015, but the bank defaulted in the remittance of value added tax (VAT) collections to FIRS to the tune of N3.4 billion.

“Due to the poor management by successive managements of the bank, there had been unimaginable high volume of non-performance of 70 percent of the bank’s risk assets and loans, thus resulting in sharp erosion of its capital structure and the national housing funds deposits.”

“The mismanagement of the bank has led to huge administrative expenditure expenditure to the extent that its annual average of staff maintenance is N4 billion, while director fees and expenses are on the average of N200 million annually.”

Citing section 40 of the FIRS act which said 10 percent should be paid for withheld or un-remitted tax, Ossai said there was the need to recover the N5.6 billion so it would be injected into the economy.

The house adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the plenary

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