PENSION REFORM ADMINISTRATION IN NIGERIA:A CASE STUDY OF EDO STATE CIVIL SERVICE
The civil service of any nation is the centerpiece of its administrative activities and performance and its output mirrors the performance of the ruling government charged with the formation and implementation of public policies - i.e. a documented guide action. In a nutshell, the civil service is the governmental bureaucratic organization that implements all public policies, which are properly and legitimately enacted by the government in power.
The Nigerian civil service is a creation of the British colonial Administration. The structure and orientation, though, fine-tuned in correlation to some standards of colonial administration, was predominantly towards the maintenance of laws and order; the stability of colonial administration; pursuance of colonial interest, particularly the exploitative extraction of revenue.
According to Augustus Adebayo (1982), the civil service is not a
creation of modern regime, rather it has its roots in history and dates back to the time of ancient civilization. The ancient Chinese Empire during the Han Dynasty, 202 B.C., recognizes the need to have a permanent official to implement government decisions.
In contemporary time the civil bureaucrats have become highly involved in policy making, a feature that has led Rourke (1976) to observe that:
Much of what ultimately comes to be regarded as the president’s legislative programme stems in the first instance from the advice of bureaucrats in the executive establishment. Located as they are in intimate contact with the everyday process of government, bureaucrats have an unexcelled vantage point from which to see the need for new legislative.
This perception of bureaucrats depicts their knowledge and expertise in handling social problems. Hence the success of any government will depend to a large extent on the efficiency of the civil service. In an address in support of pay increase for American Civil Servants, President J.F. Kennedy affirmed that the success of the American nation and his government “depend in the last analysis on the quality of our career service” (Rourke, 1976). It is in apparent recognition of the prime importance of the role of bureaucrats that welfare package or fringe benefits are provided for in the initial employment contract of the career civil servants, which include allowances and pension rights.
The study with special focus on the Edo State Civil Service examines pension and its attendant reform administration in Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In Nigeria the administration of pension and gratuities to pensioners has for several years been a nagging problem especially in the public sector. The payment of pensions and gratuities to pensioners has been very erratic and irregular. Thus pension liabilities have grown so much that government has not been able to meet them. This situation has condemned many pensioners of the public service into untold hardship, abject poverty and squalor. Many pensioners have resorted to begging for survival while some have died waiting for the payment of their pensions and gratuities (Gyamfi, 2003). Saddened and weighed down by the pain and agony of the government inability to fulfill the responsibilities of paying their pensions and gratuities pensioners have for sometime embarked on protests in various parts of the country. To protest their plight the pensioners, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Edo State chapter trooped out in large number in May 2001 with the sick amongst them carried on stretchers and wheel chairs (Adekunbi, 2001).
The indication from the foregoing not only clearly depict that the public service pensioners in Nigeria as enjoying no peaceful retirement but also that the pension administration in the country’s public sector is in dilemma. Premised on this, the following questions are posed to set the tone of investigation in this study.
What has been the nature and trend of pension and it’s attendant reform administration in the public service?
What are the problems associated with the new pension reform administration in the country?