Rising from a two-day retreat, the National Assembly and Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, constitute a Board for pension regulatory agency National Pension Commission (PenCoM).
This request formed part of a communique jointly released and signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Ibrahim Shekarau; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Pensions, Honourable Kabiru Alhassan Usman Rurum and the President PenOp, Mrs Aderonke Adedeji, at the end of the 2nd Annual Retreat organised by PenOp in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Beyond their demand for PenCom Board, the NASS members and pension operators also resolved to engage the executive to prioritize the payment of accrued rights of pensioners.
According to them, many pensioners are unable to access their pension contributions because of non-payment of accrued rights.
The duo resolved to work together on amendments that need to be made to the Pension Act of 2014, to improve the workings of the pension industry.
They also resolved to find ways to ensure that state governments comply with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act (PRA), as many of them are non-compliant.
Read Alo:PenComs priority is to pay retirees, not investment
The pension operators and the National Assembly Joint Committees, however, applauded the strides made by the industry since the pension reforms of 2004. The Communique further read: The nation has transited from an unsustainable scheme into one that is beneficial to contributors and the nation at large, but agreed that more needs to be done to enable the pension industry to benefit more Nigerians.
As at September 30, 2019, there were 8.85 million registered participants, N9.58 trillion assets under management, which have been deployed in critical sectors of the economy. There are 298,614 retirees on the scheme; 227,400 are on programmed withdrawal while 71,214 retirees have opted for annuity; 59,057 death benefits have been paid.
The Communique also noted that whilst the industry has greatly improved access to retirement benefits, the meeting agreed that more needs to be done to enable the industry to benefit more Nigerians.
In this regard, the meeting resolved to institutionalize a working relationship between the legislators and the pension industry. This retreat was beneficial for the legislators as it enabled them to be more informed about the industry
Improved legislation should ensure that the industry doubles its asset at least every five years. The meeting agreed that the operators need to continue their engagement with the private sector and the government to increase the level of infrastructure investment for pension assets while not compromising safety of retirees funds, the Communique stated.
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