•PenCom to lawmakers, others: don’t undermine pension reform
Pension fund assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has hit N6.6 trillion, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) Acting Director-General, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, has said.
She made this known a paper titled: “Position paper on the Bill for an Act to Amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014 to Exclude Some Government Agencies from the Application of the (CPS) she presented at the Public Hearing organised by the Committee on Pensions, House of Representatives on the proposed controversial pension bills in Abuja.
She lamented that despite these achievements, there had been measures aimed at undermining the pension reform.
She said there was need to consolidate the gains of the CPS and avoid policy reversals and that this could undermine public confidence and impact the economy and Federal Government’s change agenda and economic recovery plans.
Mrs Dahir-Umar, who said the total pension fund assets hit N6.42 trillion by last March, added that the fund grew by about N30 billion.
She said the total pension assets were equal to about six per cent of the Nigerian rebased Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
Similarly, the number of registered contributors grew to 7.4 million as at March, representing about 7.45 per cent of total labour force and 3.95 per cent of total population.
She pointed out that the pool of pension fund generated by the CPS has aided the deepening of Nigeria’s financial sector and provided a platform for attaining strategic programmes of government in infrastructure, housing and the development of the real sector of the economy.
Besides she said, the CPS has simplified the payment of retirement benefits by issuing effective regulations and guidelines.
She further said over 184,979 retired under the scheme during the period under review and are receiving pensions as and when due with an average monthly pension payment of N6.7 billion during the same period.
She added that the pension reform has gained public confidence and acceptability within the short period of its implementation.
The private sector, which hitherto was apprehensive of the CPS as a ploy by the public sector to raise funds to address its huge pension liabilities, has come to accept and is implementing the reform. About 200,000 private sector employers are implementing the CPS and have contributed about 60 per cent of the total pension fund assets, she added.
She said: “The CPS has also introduced transparency and integrity in the pension administration system. From inception of the reform to date, there had not been a single incidence of fraud or mismanagement of the pension funds and assets under the Scheme among other achievements.
“In spite of these achievements, however, there have been recent actions, both legislative and administrative, aimed at undermining the pension reform in Nigeria. Exempting some government agencies would lead to divestment from FGN securities before maturity, which would have ripple negative effects on not only the finances of government, but on the entire financial system.”
The Acting DG said another negative impact of exempting these agencies is the erosion of the pool of long-term investible funds accumulated under the CPS, suitable for economic development of any nation as illustrated in other jurisdictions, including developed economies.
She observed that this would undermine the process of attaining development initiatives in the infrastructure, housing and real sectors of the economy, hinged on the utilisation of a portion of the pool of pension fund assets.
“It would also be contrary to public policy for the Federal Government to succumb to the clamour for exemption of its employees from the CPS, which has so far proven to be efficient, effective and beneficial as a pension administration system. Indeed, it is the benefits of the CPS that are attracting increasing number of State Governments in Nigeria as well as other African countries to adopt and implement the Scheme in favour of their respective employees,” she added.
CULLED FROM: http://thenationonlineng.net/pension-fund-hits-n6-6-tr/