By Victor Ahiuma-Young
•Says it’s constitutional breach not to pay gratuity
ASSOCIATION of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, has vowed to continue to push for the payment of gratuities to all categories of civil servants on retirement in line with constitutional provision.
The Association contended that the Pension Reform Act, PRA, of 2014 as amended, did not abrogate the payment of gratuity.
In a chat with Vanguard, the Secretary General of ASCSN, Joshua Apebo, informed that the Association would also present the issue at the public National Joint Negotiating Council, NJIC, meeting.
The meeting took place between March 29 and March 31, 2023,in Abuja.
Though details of the Association meeting with the government representatives were not made public at the time of this report, Vanguard can assure readers that it will always make efforts to update stakeholders on the development.
However, according to the Secretary General, “For a number of years, our Association has championed the calls for the restoration of gratuity in the public service. Prior to the Pension Reform Act of 2014 (amended), when a public servant retires, he is entitled to gratuity and pension. Then, it was a defined benefit. Now, with the coming of the contributing pension scheme, CPS, the government no longer pays gratuity to retired public servants. If you go through the PRA, it does not stop payment of gratuity.
“It is unfortunate that if you look at Political and Judicial Officers Act 2008, they are entitled to gratuity. Somebody who serves at the House of Assembly, National Assembly, serves as a Minister, either governor or president and even Permanent Secretary is entitled to 300 per cent of their basic salaries.
“Imagine that someone who served for four years is entitled to gratuity and someone who served for 35 years is not entitled to gratuity. It’s just unfortunate and it is unacceptable. If you go to Section 173 subsection 2 of the 1999 constitution, public servants are entitled to gratuity. For not adhering to it, it can be described as a constitutional violation. I don’t know the joy they derive in depriving people of their entitlements. It is unfortunate that the government does not pay gratuity.
“If you go to Section 17, it states that one of the primary reasons is to make people happy; to make sure that the welfare of the people is a core issue of the government. But, they don’t do it. So, it is unfortunate that they don’t pay these gratuities.
“However, if you go to some of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, in the public service that are not really funded and revenue generating like Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and a host of others, they pay gratuity to their retirees and these are government agencies.
“So, we do not know why some will be paid , others won’t be paid when we are all operating in the same system. It is not good, and it is serious issue that we shall continue to push. Like they say, the struggle continues. We are going to re-present the memo on the restoration of gratuity to public servants.”
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