PenCom lauds pensions reforms, N8 trillion record

Stakeholders raise alarm, warn non-remitting organisations
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has commended the series of reforms in the sector, which has raised accumulations from contributors to N8trillion, as well as brighter hopes to retirees.

It also has attributed the huge accumulation and other successes achieved in the last 14 years of implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to contributors.

Meanwhile, regulators and stakeholders in the pension industry have again, warned employers in the habit of not remitting pension deductions of the wrath of the law, as it plans raise its searchlight and asks workers to also speak up.

The Acting Director-General, Aisha Dahir-Umar, gave the indications at the pre-retirement workshop for prospective retirees in the contributory pension commission in Lagos.

The PenCom boss, who was represented by the Commission’s Head Benefits and Insurance, Ekanem Aikhomu, called on 
pension contributors across the country to contribute positively towards the growth of the pension reform programme.

In an interview with The Guardian, at the workshop, she noted that the workshop is tailored towards addressing the challenges that prospective retirees might face as they enter retirement life under the CPS.

However, she urged the would-be retirees to feel free to make suggestions during and after the workshops, about issues that may further help to make retirement life more comfortable to them and other future retirees.

“The achievements recorded by the commission since the implementation of the scheme would not have been possible without the support and understanding of all stakeholders, especially our contributors, who are about to retire.

“I therefore urged Nigerians to contribute positively towards the success of the Pension Reform Programme,” she said.
The President, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOP) Aderonke Adedeji, told The Guardian that the issue of non-compliance to remittance of workers’ pension fund into (RSA) has become very challenging, even as there are provisions in the law on how to handle such.

Adedeji, who is also the Managing Director of Leadway Pensure PFA Limited, noted that “one of these is that when you have an employer who has not been remitting regularly, we are supposed to get the regulator informed about it.

“But before we do that, we try to find out what is responsible for such because the implication of making an official report is that it could lead to one or two things for your customers.

“The law says that seven days after salaries are paid, deduction from employees’ salaries and employers should be remitted. So, when you have a situation where an employer is not making such remittances for two, three, four months and above, we go there to ask why it is so.

“But when we find a situation where employers seem to be non-chalant, careless and things like that, we inform the regulator, and recovery agents to go to such employers to do all that are necessary to recover the debts,” she said.

Also, the Acting Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said that the regulator is displeased with the series of reports of non-remittance of monthly pension, especially by media proprietors.

She promised that very soon, PenCom will begin to beam its searchlight on erring media firms to ensure that they invested in the future of their workers.

Dahir-Umar noted that the essence of the new pension scheme is to ensure that contributors can still enjoy a good life at retirement from their robust RSAs and that means that both the employers and the employees must, on a monthly basis, jointly contribute 18 per cent of their incomes into the RSA of journalists, which would accumulate with time to make them spend their retirement happier.

Aikhomu noted that as part of the commission’s yearly regulatory activities, it has concluded arrangements to commence the verification of prospective retirees, who would be retiring in 2019, from the public service.

The verification exercise, as she explained, is scheduled to be undertaken from June 25 to August 17, 2018, in 15 centers across the country.

Also, she stressed that the impending exercise necessitated the need to undertake adequate sensitisation and public enlightenment to prepare prospective retirees on the steps to take towards a hitch free retirement life.

The prospective retirees received lectures on: Enrolment exercise and documentation requirement from the paper presented by Deputy Zonal Head (South-West Zonal Office), PenCom, Sola Adeseun.

A member of the commission’s Benefit and Insurance Department, Ifedolapo Akinniyi, also discussed the theme: “Accessing Retirement Benefits and Payment under the Contributory Pension Scheme,” while the Managing Partner, Averti Professional Managers, Inyang Sani Orungbe, took up the theme: “Life after Retirement.”

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