Most workers, supposedly, hope that their retirement benefits will keep them going when they exit their workplaces but this is hardly the reality, pensioners revelations have confirmed.
Speaking to the Daily Trust, the National President of the Federal Universities Pensioners Association (FUPA), Dr Ayuba Audu Kura, said most of his contemporaries have failed to plan ahead of their retirement.
“We failed to think of what to do when we are not working and some of us are paying for that mistake now,” Kura said.
He said though he now engages in several businesses to augment his meager pension, he would have been better off if he had planned for his retirement.
“Many of us, when we were working, we never knew there will be a day when the rain will come. I told my children that I have been ‘a good-morning-sir somebody’ but I don’t want my children to continue to be ‘a yes-sir boy’ as we were when we’re working.”
Daily Trust’s investigation shows that most retirees receive less than N10,000 as pension monthly, which is less than the current minimum wage in the country.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Abia State, Comrade Chukwuma Udensi, laments that the state’s N1, 200 minimum amount of pension is the least in Nigeria.
Similarly, Plateau State Government last reviewed its minimum monthly pension of N2, 000 to ten years ago, reviewing the amount upward to N5, 140.
With the nation’s level of inflation, workers have no option than to plan for their retirement in order to have alternative sources of income.
“I engage in so many businesses, sometimes, I don’t so much look at the pension,” Kura Said.
A retired teacher, Mr Joshua Ochendo, told Daily Trust that most of what he does now as a retiree, he initiated them after retirement.
Ochendo, who now runs a non-governmental organization (NGO), said as a teacher in Anambra State, he did not plan for his retirement until he found himself out of employment and discovered he was not yet tired.
“I retired from work but I was not tired,” he said. “When I realized that, I started looking for what to do.”
“I was used to getting up and going to work. All of a sudden, I found myself at home every day. All my children are all grown up and there is no one at home to talk to. I told myself that if I don’t start doing something fast, I may start hallucinating.”
He founded his NGO to earn money and contribute to the society’s development.
He advised workers to consider current happenings in states where workers and pensioners are owed salaries, for months, as a pointer to the fact that if they do not plan for their retirement they would live to regret it later.
Since last year, states have been battling to pay workers salary and pension, a development that forced pensioners to stage several demonstrations to protest non-payment of their entitlements.
Between last year and this year, pensioners have staged a protest in Delta, Bayelsa, Plateau, Abia Osun, and Ekiti states to press home their demands.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, the Head of Regulatory and Public Sector (North) of AIICO Pension Managers Limited, Mr. Sani Mustapha, said he met workers who lived in quarters provided them by their workplace, all their working years, who did not plan for where to relocate after retirement.
Mustapha said workers need to attend retirement planning workshops to learn how they can plan for their retirement.
Pension experts advise that if a worker’s retirement savings are broadly on track, the worker can still take steps to improve his sources of income at retirement.
After taking steps to improve your pension pot, Mustapha advised that workers can develop themselves academically to venture into consultancy after retirement.
He said: “If workers develop themselves before retirement by adding to themselves more academic value, I’m sure after they retire, they can still be useful and people will still look out for them for their services.”
He called on the government to desist from engaging international consultants to solve simple problems that local retirees, with an immense wealth of experience, can solve.