THE Lagos State Government has started Biometric Verification Exercise otherwise known as I’M ALIVE for pensioners in the State.
At the flag-off ceremony at Somolu Local Government secretariat, Akinola Benson-Oke, state commissioner, ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions, said the exercise would contribute greatly to effective pensions administration in the State, adding that it would remove the issue of double representation and impersonation of pensioners on the pay roll.
He said that the exercise was part of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration’s commitment to fully integrate technology into governance in the State.
The commissioner stressed that the improvement in the Lagos State Residents Registration Project has been tremendous which has translated into huge benefits in the I’M ALIVE initiative, stressing further that pensioners need only bring their LASRRA Identity Cards to the verification centres in order to revalidate their records.
He hinted that through this method, government has been able to ascertain the real pensioners on the old scheme thereby eliminating fraudulent acts in the payment of pensions and gratuities which have invariably ensured prompt payment of monthly pensions or an electronic transfer of such to the right pensioners.
According to him, “This initiative demonstrates, once again, the commitment of the state government to ensuring that resources are prudently managed for the benefit of all and sundry, especially for the benefit of retired public servants who have served the state meritoriously”.
Benson-Oke affirmed that 15 centres have been set up at designated Local Government Secretariats in the State for pensioners to participate in the on-going exercise.
The centres include Somolu, Agege, Alimosho, Amuwo/Odofin, Badagry, Epe Local Government Areas (LGAs). Others are Eti/Osa, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Kosofe, Lagos Island, Mushin, Oshodi/Isolo and Surulere LGAs in order to ensure that every pensioner is captured and given the opportunity to participate in the programme.
Earlier, Omobolanle Ogunmola, permanent secretary of the Civil Service Pension Office, said that the exercise is one of the many activities dedicated to serving the state retirees and it has contributed in no small measure to the attainment of the enviable status of the state among others in the country.
She said her ministry is about to round up on the distribution of welfare packages, consisting of various foods items to pensioners that are 70 years and above, while efforts are on to obtain governor’s approval for beneficiaries’ age to begin from 60 years.
It would be recalled that the State Government in the Y2016 Budget, earmarked N6.5 billion for the settlement of pension arrears in addition to making adequate provisions for the contributory pension scheme in the State.
— Feb 9, 2016 @ 12:55 GMT