The Military Pension Board (MPB) has appealed to the Senate to increase its budgetary allocation to enable it to meet payment of benefits of retirees of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The Chairman of the MPB, Commodore Saburi Lawal, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday when he appeared before Senate Committee on Defence, to defend MPB 2021 budgetary estimates.
He said: We apeal to your committee to favourably consider the MPB 2021 budget estimates.
“We appeal to your committee to kindly increase the amount recommended by the Budget Office of the Federation for the pensions, gratuities, death benefits and allied costs to the figures proposed by the board.”
We appeal to your committee to kindly increase the military pensions board overhead and capital cost allocations to accommodate the rising inflationary trend in the society and to enhance infrastructure development of the board.
”According to him, MPB is charged with the responsibility of administering pensions of military retirees, payment of death benefits to next-of-kins of deceased personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria through funds allocated to it by the National Assembly.
He said the annual budgetary allocations to the MPB are divided into pensions, gratuities, death benefits, allied cost, overhead cost and capital expenditure.
Giving a breakdown of 2020 budget performance of MPB, Lawal said: “In 2020, the sum of N270,593,565,984. was appropriated to the board for payment of pensions, gratuities, death benefits and payment of outstanding arrears to retired personnel.
“As at date the sum N163,195,174,488 only has been released to the board representing 75 per cent of the appropriated figure.” For 2020 capital budget performance, Lawal said that the sum of N187 million was appropriated for the MPB.
He said that N93,901,500 representing 50 per cent of the approved capital budget has been released to the board.
“The sum of N96,459,482 was appropriated as an overhead cost, while N56 million, representing 58 per cent has been released.
He said the capital and overhead cost allocations for the MPB were negligible, noting that the amount allocated was the same figure in the last three years.
“All efforts to ensure that the allocation goes up has not yielded any effort. “We urge the committee to assist in increasing the allocation as the MPB has hospitals housing complex, road networks to maintain, among other services for the smooth running of the MPB.
For 2021 budget estimates, he said that N216,48,604,822 was proposed to carter for pensions, gratuities, death benefits and allied matters.
He, however, said that the Budget Office of the Federation recommended to the National Assembly the sum of N183,748,495,159.
This, Lawal said, had a shortfall of almost N27 billion of what the MPB proposed initially for 2021. “We know what is going on in the North East, there is an increased number of casualties.
“We are now having higher number of our personnel retiring and those with arrears that have been captured on the payroll need to be paid.
“So I am appealing to the distinguished committee to kindly help us grant the actual proposal that we had forwarded, so as to discharge our duties to our fatherland.
For 2021 capital estimates, he said the board proposed N309,151,880. He said the amount was based on the budget ceiling allocated to MPB by Ministry of Defence.
He, however, said the amount was too meagre to handle the MPB capital expenditure needs, noting that many of the MPB personnel did not have official accommodations.
For 2021 overhead cost, Lawal said the sum of N96 million was proposed, noting that the figure was grossly inadequate.
Responding, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Aliyu Wammakko (APC-Sokoto), said the Committee would critically look into the issues raised by the MPB.