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Reps Commence Ammendments To Pension Act….Proposes 75% Payment On Retirement

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The House of Representatives has commenced the process for the amendment of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, with the view to increase the retirement benefits due to retirees or disengaged worker, from 25% to 75% immediately upon retirement and criminalize undue delay in the payment of the accrued benefits.

The private member bill which has been gazetted for Second Reading as sponsored by Hon. Olaifa Jimoh Aremu seeks to amend sections 1(C), 7(2), 8(1), 18, 24 and 99 of the Pension Reform Act Cap. P50 Law of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2014.

Section 1(c) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 is to be amended by deleting ‘receives his retirement benefits as and when due’ and replaces it with “receives at least 75% of his retirement benefits immediately upon retirement, disengages or is disengaged.”

When amended, the section 1(C) is to read as follows: “Ensure that every person who worked in either the Public Service of the Federation, Federal Capital Territory, States and Local Government or the Private Sector receives at least 75% of his retirement benefits upon retirement, disengages or disengaged.

The proponent of the Act also seeks amendment of section 1(c) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 by adding a new paragraph (e) immediately after (d) and rearranged as follows: “make provision for payment of the remaining benefits or every benefit without delay.”

In the same vein, Hon. Aremu also proposed the amendment of Section 7 (2) by deleting the figure ’25’ inline-four and replace it with ’75’ and delete “provided that such retirement or cessation of employment and the employee does not secure another employment” and rearranged as follows:

“Where an employee voluntarily retires, disengages or is disengaged from employment as provided for under section 16 (2) and (5) of this act, the employee may with the approval of the Commission, withdraw an amount of money not exceeding 75% of the total amount credited to his retirement savings account.”

Hon. Aremu further proposed amendment to Section 8(l), by adding “all” immediately after ‘dies’ in line one and rearranged as follows: “Where an employee dies, all his entitlements under the life insurance policy maintained under section 4(5) of this act shall be paid by an underwriter to the named beneficiary in line with section 57 of the Insurance Act.

Similarly, Hon. Aremu seeks the amendment of Section 13 of the pension Reform Act 2014 is amended by adding a new paragraph (d) immediately after (0) and rearranged as follows: “Ensure prompt payment of retirement benefit without undue delay.”

In the same vein, the lawmaker seeks the amendment of section 24 of the Pension Reform Act 2014, by adding new paragraph immediately after (O) and re-arranged as follows: (P) Ensure prompt payment of retirement benefits without undue delay.

Likewise, he proposed amendment of section 99 of the Pension Reform Act 2014, by adding new subsection (5) immediately after subsection (4) and re-arranged as follow: “Any person, body, Pension Fund Administrator, or Pension Fund Custodian that withholds or unduly delays payment of retirement benefit which have been released by the Federal Government or its Agency, Commission or Body commits an offence and shall be liable to 3 years imprisonment or a fine of N2 million or both.”

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Ebonyi Head of Service Position: Umahi Throws Application Open

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Against the usual practice of picking from the top echelon of the Civil Service,  Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi on Tuesday threw the position of Head of Service (HoS) of the state open, asking civil servants on Grade Level 14 and above to apply within two weeks.

Umahi, in a statement by the Commissioner of Information and State Orientation, Mr Uchenna Orji, said civil servants across the 13 LGAs of the state are qualified to apply within two weeks.

“The Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi requests applications from Civil Servants from Grade Level 14 and above to fill the vacancy of the Head Of Service (HOS), who shall be bowing out of Civil Service on 30th June 2021 after a meritorious and selfless service to the government and people of Ebonyi State,” the statement read in part.

The Governor further directed the civil servants to forward their applications to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG): “All applications are to be addressed to the Secretary to the State Government and Coordinating Commissioner, and submitted with all relevant credentials no later than 30th June, 2021.

Umahi added that “In replacing the outgoing Head of Service, the Government will be looking for the best for the State to continue the good work that the outgoing Head of Service began.

He applauded the loyalty, committed efforts and selfless service rendered by the out-going Head Of Service, Dr. Chamberlain Nwele, in the state and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Federal High Court Issues New Practice Direction For Filing Of Processes As Workers Resume

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The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court (FHC), Justice John Tsoho, has issued a new practice direction on exemption of payment of default fees for filing of processes.

The development, according to a statement by Catherine Oby-Nwandu, Chief Information Officer of FHC, on Friday night, followed the resumption of work after the two-month strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) was called off on on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JUSUN had, on April 6, shut down all courts nationwide to demand for financial autonomy for the judiciary at the state level.

Although the industrial action was called off on Wednesday, June 9, the workers union directed all its members to resume work on Monday, June 14.

Justice Tsoho, in the statement, therefore ordered that notwithstanding the provisions of Order 48 Rule 4 of the court rules, 2019, on computation of time for filling of court proceedings as provided by the Rules and payment of default fees for extension of time, the period covering the JUSUN strike action would be exempted.

The statement reads: “Following the resumption of work after the strike action by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) from 6th day of April, 2021 to 14th day of June 2021 which affected court proceedings and filling of processes, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Honorable Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, announces to Hon. Judges, stakeholders and the general public, the essential need for a new Practice Direction on EXEMPTION OF PAYMENT OF DEFAULT FEES FOR FILING OF PROCESSES computation of time for the payment of default fees for extension of time for filing processes in the Federal High Court of Nigeria for the above period.

“Pursuant to the powers conferred on him, he thereby issues the following Practice Directions:
“COMPUTATION of Time for filing of court processes and payment of default fees for extension of time;
“Notwithstanding the provisions of Order 48 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 on computation of time for filling of court proceedings or doing an act as provided by the Rules and payment of default fees for extension of time thereof, the period covering the JUSUN strike action, being from 6th day of April, 2021 to 14th day of June, 2021, is hereby exempted.

“APPLICABILITY; These practice Directions shall, save to the extent or as may be otherwise directed by the Chief Judge, apply to both criminal and civil causes and matters in the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

“CITATION; These Practice Directions shall be cited as the Federal High Court (Exemption of Payment of Default Fees for Filing of Processes) Practice Directions (No. 2) 2021.

“The Practice Directions take effect from Tuesday, June 15, 2021.”(NAN)

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BUHARI REMOVES ARMSTRONG IDACHABA, REPLACES HIM WITH SHEHU ILELAH AS NBC DG.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Mr Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, as the new director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the appointment in a statement made available to NAN in Abuja on Friday.

The statement said Ilelah’s appointment is for a tenure of five years in the first instance.

Ilelah

It added that Ilelah is a veteran broadcaster.

Ilelah takes over from the acting director-general of the agency, Armstrong Idachaba, who had been acting since the removal of Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, the esthwhile director-general who was removed over alleged corruption last year.

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