Biometrics for verification of pension earners in Nigeria, Zimbabwe
The Lagos State government of Nigeria says it is today beginning an online biometric verification process for 5,984 pensioners under the State’s Defined Benefit Scheme, reports PM News. In Zimbabwe, the Public Service Commission has recommended that biometric information of pension earners be collected by the office of the Registrar General in an effort to curb fraud in the southern African nation’s pension management system.
The Lagos State process, which kicks off August 9 and to run till September 17, is a follow-up to a similar exercise organized in the State in 2020, which the State government says was highly successful, PM News quoted Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Ajibola Ponnle, as explaining during a press conference recently.
The Commissioner said the biometric verification process, to be conducted online, has been orchestrated by the pandemic which has put a serious strain on physical contacts and meetings in the State. Biometric verification was conducted online in 2020 for the same reasons, the report indicates. Nigeria is currently experiencing a surge in COVID infections.
The campaign, dubbed ‘I Alive’, will help detect fraud and ensure that only deserving pensioners receive payments.
Commissioner Ponnle said the exercise is unfolding at a time when the State government, under the Administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says it has already paid out N4.7 billion (US$10million) to pensioners under two categories: those under the Teachers Establishment Pension Office and those of the Judicial Service Commission.
“Capitalizing on the achievement of the 2020 exercise, the Civil Service Pensions Office has concluded plans to make the 2021 Online Verification Exercise a greater success. This exercise will entail confirmation of existing biometric data against the pensioners available online for verification,” said the State Commissioner, per PM News. She added that the online process will enable pensioners go through the process from the comfort of their homes.
Zimbabwe to collect biometric data of pensioners
The Registrar General’s Office of Zimbabwe has been told to capture the biometric data of pensioners in order to enable them continue to receive their benefits, according to News Ghana.
Recommended by the country’s Public Service Commission (PSC), the exercise which has August 31, 2021 as deadline, is seen as a move to fight corruption in the pensions system as only pensioners with verified biometric data will receive payments.
The PSC says the move is intended to strengthen the pension management system and make it more credible as experience shows that many pensioners do not have their biometric information anywhere in the Registrar General’s database.
Zimbabwe used biometrics to expunge thousands of ghost workers from its public service payroll last year.