There is anxiety among retired members of the army, air force and navy as they await the payment of their Security Debarment Allowance as provided in the 2017 Manual of Financial Administration.
Our correspondent learnt from sources that no fewer than 2,500 personnel were affected by the non-payment and the number could increase as another batch of military men are due for retirement.
The 2017 MAFA document for armed forces, which contains the security debarment allowance, was signed in January 2018, but military sources said the National Assembly had yet to appropriate funds to begin the payments.
According to MAFA document, other allowances that serving and retired military men are entitled to include non-accident bonus allowances and family passage allowance.
The MAFA document partly read, “Security Debarment Allowance is payable by each service to all personnel on retirement from service. It is, however, to be implemented by Defence Headquarters.”
Our correspondent, however, learnt that since 2018 when the document was signed, the security debarment and other allowances had not been paid because the National Assembly had not yet appropriated funds for it.
A top military source said, “As of 2020, the National Assembly only appropriated about 50 per cent needed for MAFA. Hence, there is only partial implementation in all the services. We are expecting that the National Assembly will work to ensure that money for the full implementation of MAFA since 2018 is released before end of 2020 so as to avoid series of backlogs.”
When contacted, the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, confirmed that MAFA had not been appropriated and therefore the implementation could not begin.
The Director, Defence Information, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said, “According to my earlier release on MAFA, it has not yet been activated. By activated, that means it has not been appropriated. So we are hoping that in 2020, it will be appropriated. Therefore, it cannot be implemented because if does not have financial backing yet. It means that it had not been appropriated for in the budget.
“It may begin to be implemented in 2020 on the condition that it is appropriated.”