1.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
Retirement is a phase of life that every worker must experience, regardless of readiness. It is the time at which an employee decides to leave his or her job permanently (either voluntarily or involuntarily), which generally coincides with the employee’s eligibility to collect retirement benefits such as social security, company pensions, etc. It is an inevitable stage in one’s life, whether in the private or public sector; it is a period of time during which one’s effort in an organization and paid role cease (Agoro, 2009; Ahmed, 2007; Bassey & Asinya, 2008).
One could say that the concept of pension is as old as man and the working environment. Even in prehistoric times, people were inclined to set aside some cash or goods, but mostly goods, for a rainy day. The rainy day included old age as well. In modern times, pension is commonly understood to be the sum of money paid on a regular basis by employers to former employees who have retired from their service, typically as a result of reaching a predetermined age limit or for other reasons such as sickness, widowhood, or disability (Nyong & Duze, 2011).
Even in the world’s most developed economies, such as the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), and France, Pension administration and issues related to the treatment of the elderly and the disabled pose very serious and troubling issues (Ahmad & Oyediran, 2013). As observed by Kolawole (2003), the difference between our society and advanced societies is the application of imagination, creative thought, and planning to complex social problems.
After a successful retirement from active service, workers in the public and private sectors are expected to live a comfortable life independent of any form of dependence. According to Rabelo (2002), cited in Sule and Ezegwu (2009), the working lives of employees move continuously in one direction, namely from employment to growth to retirement. Some are fortunate enough to save enough money for retirement or “the rainy day,” while the majority leave the military with little or no savings. In an ideal world, governments and organizations must find a way to accommodate and adequately reward the past efforts of employees through organized pension plans in order to achieve their missions. This is typically accomplished through various retirement policies, such as the defined Benefit (pay-as-you-go) scheme, the National provident fund scheme, and the fully funded contributory pension scheme (Sule & Ezegwu, 2009).
Divergent schools of thought supported the concept of pensions and their value. According to Kantudu (2005), these schools of thought are the contributory school of thought, the non-contributory school of thought, and the hybrid school of mind. The first school of thinking, which emphasizes contribution, is supported by the majority of accounting standards-setting agencies as well as academics like Campbell and Fieldstein (2001). The school of thought stated that if employees contribute a particular proportion to the plan, they will be eligible to collect the entire or a portion of the benefits upon retirement or termination of employment. This is based on the operational efficiency principle in terms of computation and financing. According to Kantudu (2005), the second school of thinking (the non-contributory) was also supported by Accounting Standards establishing bodies and academics such as McGill (1984) and Byrne (2005). (2003). According to this school of thought, pension assets should be funded solely by employers. This school believed that the solitary funding provided by the sponsor promotes and attracts more competent and committed personnel to join the organization. Under this system, the benefit is determined by a formula, and pension at retirement is either provided as a lump sum or as a life annuity. The Hybrid School of Thought is the third philosophical school. Pension funds are collective pension plans that benefit from some (but variable) risk sharing between participants and sponsors and typically include guarantees and conditional indexing, according to this school.
A retired public officer typically receives perks in the form of gratuity and pension during retirement. Gratuity is the total lump sum paid to a worker upon leaving the service through withdrawal or retirement, whereas pension is the sum of annuity paid periodically, typically monthly, to a public servant who leaves the service after reaching a specified age limit, typically 60 years or 35 years of active service (Ezeani, 2001; Ebosele, 2001). Gratuities and pensions are post-employment benefits. These benefits are intended to prevent a rapid reduction in the worker’s financial capacity and level of living that would result from the cessation of his monthly wage and allowances upon termination of employment. The lump payment or gratuity is intended to allow the retiree to finance any post-retirement endeavor of his choosing, whereas the pension replaces the retiree’s monthly wage while he was in active service (Babasola, 2000).
In this manner, the retiree, having spent a large portion of his productive life working to make a living, can in his old age (i.e., at retirement) sustain and maintain a comparable level of living to what he was accustomed to during active service. Most progressive governments establish legislation to support their policies on employment, retirement, and pensions in the public and private sectors of the economy. According to Casey (2011) and Taiwo (2014), pensions as a kind of social protection against old-age poverty and other uncertainties have garnered widespread interest in developed, developing, and under-developed countries alike. This study, a case study of Abeokuta south LGA, focuses on the obstacles experienced by retirees in receiving pension money in Ogun state.
1.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
Life after retirement is one of the largest obstacles faced by typical employees throughout their careers. Employees must prepare in advance for the emotional, psychological, and financial issues associated with retirement. Given that retirement occurs at an advanced age, health is also a crucial factor to consider. In planning for retirement, however, the majority of workers in the past who did not plan ahead have frequently blamed their lack of foresight. As a result of the failings of public sector pension systems, there has been a significant paradigm shift among workers over how to manage their life after retirement.
Lack of accountability and transparency in the management of the contributed funds, fraud and irregularities, lack of annual auditing and publication of annual audit reports of the Trustees, illegal dissolution of the Trustees, and appointment of unqualified staff in the management Board of the Trustees contrary to the provisions of the Nigeria pension and gratuity law of 2006 are among the issues affecting the proper operation of the pension scheme.
Pension programs, particularly those that are publicly sponsored and operated, have become a topic of interest among economists, policymakers, and the general public. This is not only due to the importance of pension programs to the well-being of retirees and the elderly, but also because the majority of pension programs are not actuarially balanced (that is, they are not financially stable) and, as a result, they operate at deficits, making the present values of their future liabilities enormous. In various countries, particularly economically developed nations, pensions are typically extended to categories of persons other than retirees, such as widows, orphans, crippled people (through disability pensions), and the elderly or old. These issues need a case study of Abeokuta south LGA examining the obstacles pensioners in Ogun state encounter in gaining access to pension money.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study’s overarching purpose is to explore the obstacles pensioners in Ogun state encounter in receiving pension payments, using Abeokuta south LGA as a case study. Included among the specific aims are the following:
Determine if retirees in Abeokuta south Local Government Area (LGA) have difficulty accessing their pension benefits.
Determine whether the level of funding for the contributory pension system has a substantial impact on the payment of retirement benefits in the Abeokuta South Local Government Area.
Examine how compliance with the Contributory Pension Scheme law impacts the payment of retirement benefits in the Abeokuta South Local Government Area.
5.To investigate the impact of corruption on the obstacles pensioners in Abeokuta south LGA encounter in receiving pension payments.