The Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, thursday said the process of issuing the proposed guidelines allowing pension contributors to apply part of their Retirement Savings Account balances as equity contribution for residential mortgage was already at advanced stages.
She also said the guidelines would soon be implemented to facilitate access to home ownership by pension contributors as well as bridge the housing deficit in the country.
Speaking in Enugu at the stakeholders’ sensitization conference on Pension Reform Act 2014, which was organized by the commission, she argued that the present liquidity crisis in most states of the federation pointed to the need for urgent implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) across the country.
She made a passionate appeal to all the states and local governments particularly in the South-east zone which are yet to adopt or implement the CPS to quickly embark on the scheme in order to avail their employees of the numerous benefits of the scheme as well as avoid huge future pension liabilities.
She said that though prior to the enactment of the PRA 2014, several states in the federation had adopted the CPS and were at various stages of implementation, the scorecard for the South-east zone had not been encouraging since no state has attained full implementation status.
The PenCom boss pointed out that the PRA 2014 has enhanced states and local government participation in the CPS by expressly prescribing the coverage of their employees of in addition to the federal public service and private sector.
She said the commission had already commenced series of activities intended to pave the way for the coverage of the informal sector through the Micro Pensions initiative which focuses on the underserved segments of the Nigerian workers.
She added that PenCom was partnering with organized labour and well established trade groups in that regard to actualize its objectives.
She further noted that the PRA 2014 had also addressed other issues aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the CPS through the establishment of the Pension Protection Fund and Minimum Pension Guarantee.
According to her: “It is pertinent to note that the Pension Reform Act 2014 re-enacted the fundamental provisions of the repealed PRA 2004, which include inter alia, the establishment of the Contributory Pension Scheme, uniform standards for pension administration as well as the National Pension Commission as the sole regulator and supervisor of pension matters in Nigeria.
“However, there are new developments introduced by the PRA 2014 such as the upward review of the minimum rate of pension contribution and the sanctions and penalties against infractions of the provisions of the Act.”
– James Emejo