The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) on Wednesday launched a software designed for pensioners in the Northeast region of the country tagged: ‘I am Alive’.
The Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, disclosed this to newsmen in Gombe shortly after the PTAD stakeholders’ forum for Northeast region.
She said that the software would enable pensioners have easy access to confirm their living status from the comfort of their homes using either a smartphone or a computer system.
Over 250 pensioners from the six states of the region – Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Taraba were in attendance.
She said with ‘I am alive’ confirmation would relieve them the field verification they had been carrying out all year, thereby, reducing stress of travelling long distances.
“’I am alive’ confirmation is convenient and virtually everybody has a mobile phone even though not all are smartphones and not all of the pensioners are computer literate, but a member of their households will have a smartphone to help out.
“Also the pensioners can use a trusted person in their communities to be of assistance.
“But I want to advise the retirees not to give their BVN to anybody because PTAD does not require it.”
Ejikeme said that after completing the exercise across all the geo-political regions, PTAD would go back to the drawing board to determine how the exercise would be useful either after six months or yearly.”
She said the directorate was also training the pension union executives and desk officers in case of any challenges to enable them to verify through the recognised unions.
Alhaji Ahmed Gazali, the NUP Assistant Secretary-General, while speaking on behalf of the pensioners, commended PTAD for the innovation of ‘Iam Alive’ confirmation software.
He said that the new development would go a long way in easing the hardship of pensioners, considering the security challenges in the country.
He called on the pensioners to always patronise the representative of the union instead of involving third party to avoid fraud.
“Even if it means involving third party, do not give them your BVN because the moment you release you BVN, you have subjected yourself to another problem,” he warned.
He appealed to governors to consider the plight of retirees because “one day, they will join us”.
He also emphasised the need for private sectors and other relevant organisations that were yet to join the contributory pension scheme to do so.