BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The civil service of any nation is the centerpiece of its administrative activities and performance and its output mirrors the performance of the ruling government charged with the formation and implementation of public policies – i.e. a documented guide action. In a nutshell, the civil service is the governmental bureaucratic organization that implements all public policies, which are properly and legitimately enacted by the government in power. The Nigerian civil service is a creation of the British colonial Administration. The structure and orientation – though fine-tuned in correlation to some standards of colonial administration, was predominantly towards the maintenance of laws and order; the stability of colonial administration; pursuance of colonial interest, particularly the exploitative extraction of revenue.
According to Augustus Adebayo (1982), the civil service is not a creation of modern regimes, rather it has its roots in history and dates back to the time of ancient civilization. The ancient Chinese Empire during the Han Dynasty, 202 B.C., recognizes the need to have a permanent official to implement government decisions. In contemporary time the civil bureaucrats have become highly involved in policy making, a feature that has led Rourke (1976) to observe that:
Much of what ultimately comes to be regarded as the presidents legislative programme stems in the first instance from the advice of bureaucrats in the executive establishment. Location as they are in intimate contact with the everyday process of government, bureaucrats have an unexcelled vantage point from which to see the need for new legislative.
This perception of bureaucratic depicts their knowledge and expertise in handling social problems. Hence the success of any government will depend to a large extent on the efficiency of the civil service. In an address in support of pay increase for American Civil Servants, President J.F. Kennedy affirmed that the success of the American nation and his government “depend in the last analysis on the quality of our career service” (Rourke, 1976). It is in apparent recognition of the prime importance of the role of bureaucrats that welfare package or fringe benefits are provided for in the initial employment contract of the career civil servants, which include allowances and pension rights. The study with special focus on the Delta State Civil Service examines pension administration in Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In Nigeria the administration of pension and gratuities to pensioners has for several years been a nagging problem especially in the public sector. The payment of pensions and gratuities to people has been very erratic and irregular. Thus pension liabilities have grown so much that government has not been able to meet them. This situation has condemned many pensioners of the public service into untold hardship, abject poverty and squalor. Many pensioners have resorted to begging for survival while some have died waiting for the payment of their pensions and gratuities (Gyamfi, 2003). Saddened and weighed down by the pain and agony of the government inability to fulfill the responsibilities of paying their pensions and gratuities pensioners have for sometime embarked on protests in various parts of the country. To protest their plight the pensioners, under the aegis of Nigeria Union of Pension (NUP), Edo State chapter trooped out in large number in May 2001 with the sick amongst them carried on stretchers and wheel chairs (Adekunbi, 2001). The indication from the foregoing not only clearly depict that the public service pensioners in Nigeria as enjoying no peaceful retirement but also that the pension administration in the country’s public sector is in dilemma. Premised on this, the following questions are posed to set the tone of investigation in this study.
What has been the nature and trend of pension administration in the public service?
What are the problems associated with the pension administration in the country?
What has the government done to resolve the problems?
To what extent are the measures taken by the government helped to address the problems associated with pension administration in the country?
What can be done to ensure effective pension administration in the country with a view to cushion or minimize the harsh effect of the current system of pension administration?
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study include the following:
1. To examine the nature and trend of pension administration in the Nigerian Public Service.
2. To spotlight the strengths and weaknesses of pension administration in the Nigerian Public Service.
3. To design a blueprint on how to enhance pension administration in the Nigerian Public Service.
STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
The understated hypotheses were tested in this study:
1. There is no significant relationship between lack of sufficient revenue on the part of government and her ability to meet its pension obligations.
2. There is no significant relationship between computerization of pensioners’ data and improved payment systems in pension administration.
3. There is no association between employees’ contribution to pension scheme and government’s to provide pension funds.
4. There is no relationship between inclusion of deceased pensioners’ to pension claims by corrupt officials and the rise in pensioners’ population.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is limited to pension administration in Nigeria with special focus on the Delta State Civil Service. The study would examine the nature, trend and problems of pension administration as well as make recommendation on how to address the problems. The time frame of the study will cover the period between 1999 and 2004.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
One major limitation of this study is the officialdom and secrecy, which characterize Public Service operation. This limited the procurement of relevant data needed for this study. Also the studies being a survey research relied mainly on the information, which the respondents were unwilling to volunteer. Further in this period of economic depression and hyperinflation the finance require to meet the logistic needs of the study constituted a major constraint. Finally, the time frame available to carry out and write the report for this research was also a major limitation of this study.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There are no major studies available on pension administration in Nigeria. Most of the works are mainly articles and reports on newspaper. This study therefore would contribute immensely to the literature on pension administration in Nigeria especially with reference to the Delta State Civil Service. The data generated by this research would provide public administrators with useful guide on pension administration in the Nigerian Public Service. Furthermore, the study would provide students of Public Administration and Researchers basis for further research on the subject either by the information it gives or those it may leave out.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Pension: Means sum amount of money paid regularly (by the state to people above a certain age and to widowed or disabled people or) by an employer to a retired employee.
Fringe Benefits: Include sick pay medical facilities, transport service, training leave scholarships, pension benefits and so on.
Social Security refers to provision by the state of assistance to people in need as a result of sickness, unemployment or old age.
Civil Service refers to the administrative agencies of the state charged with the implementation of government policies.
Administration: Means to regulate, supervise or manage.