By: Lamin B. Darboe
Information Officer, PMO
Director, Pension Directorate Division at the Personnel Management Office (PMO) has revealed that the new Pensions Act shall repeal the Pensions Act, 1950 and shall introduce a contributory pension scheme as opposed to the current non-contributory scheme, thus addressing a number of limitations of the Pensions Act, 1950.
Isatou Dibba informed Gambia Daily on Friday where she also talked about the functions of her office. She therefore explained on the establishment, administration and contributions to the Public Service Pensions Scheme and Fund which she said has been established for the remittance of contributions of Public Service employees towards their pensions and gratuity.
She explained that the Scheme is created for the purpose of ensuring payment of pensions, gratuities, and other applicable benefits provided under this Act to public officers.
According to Dibba, the new Pensions Act shall provide civil servants with additional benefits such as dependents’ pension for five years, entitlement to some benefits upon resignation, a provision for a missing member, minimum and maximum pensions, among other things.
“The Acts shall centralize the Pension Administration under the PMO with a view to providing enhanced pensions to public servants and making the process of pension and gratuity payments less cumbersome and more efficient,” Dibba explained.
Pensions, gratuities, and any other benefits payable under this Act Director Dibba added, shall be funded jointly by the Government and contributions made by public officers, thus the Accountant General shall deduct from every public officer, an amount equivalent to five percent of pensionable emoluments and the amount shall be remitted to the Public Service Pensions Fund.
She said where the Government fails to deduct the contribution referred to section 6 sub-section (2), the amount shall be recovered in the subsequent months from the public officer without any notice to the officer.
“The Government shall meet the balance of the cost of the pension, gratuity, or other benefits payable under this Act after allowing for contributions referred to under Sub-section (2). Director of Pensions shall maintain a unique personal identification number to each member of the Scheme and maintain an updated register of members”.
She said her office shall be responsible for the day-to- day administration of the scheme and responsible to the Permanent Secretary on administrative and technical matters.
Director Dibba explained that her office shall open and maintain a pension account for each member with a personal identification number, reconcile the information maintained in the member’s account with the payroll records maintained by the Accountant General in respect of deductions made under this Act.
She said her office shall issue regular communication to members on matters relating to the Scheme, provide customer service support to members, including access to member’s account balances and relevant statements upon written request, be responsible for all calculations relating to payable pensions, gratuities and any other benefits which are payable under this Act.
“Director of Pension shall keep and maintain an up-to-date register of members of the Scheme to enable accurate and expeditious actuarial valuation of the scheme, at all times cause to be kept and maintained an accurate record of contributions made by persons employed,” she explained.
Our readers would recall that the new Public Service Pensions Bill 2022 was tabled before deputies at the National Assembly by the former Vice President, Dr. Isatou Touray who doubled as the then Minister responsible for Civil Service Matters.The new Act was then Gazettes and assented to by His Excellency, the President in April 6, 2022.