Consolidation of the nation’s pension industry, currently with investible assets of N3.5 trillion equal to 80 percent of the 2013 national budget and 5.6 million contributors, would hit N9 trillion in 12 months, Aloysius Etok, chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment & Public Service Matters, said weekend.
This will require that all the states ofthe federation comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), PensionTransition Arrangement Departments(PTADs) will become effectiveunder the National Pension Commission supervision and majority of informal sector workers come under the scheme, the senator stated.
Etok, who made the disclosure at the official commissioning of the South West zonal office of the National Pension Commission on Oduduwa Crescent, Ikeja GRA to cover Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Ondo states, said the potential of the industry is huge. Etok representing Senate President David Mark at the occasion, said the Pension Reform Bill presently with theNational Assembly joint committee on pensions would be structured to ensure smooth running of the scheme, assuring that the outcome of the bill will be in best interest of all Nigerians.
While commending the commission’s old and new management for their commitment and hard work to see Nigeria have a successful pension industry, he advised them not to allowany state that is not complying with the CPC to access pension fund for any form of development.
The event which witnessed the attendance of three state governors including Babatunde Fashola of LagosState, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and lbukunle Amosun of Ogun State got the assurances of the governors to fullyimplementthe scheme to the benefit of their workers.
Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, acting Director General, PenCom, said the CPS has made modest achievements withinfew years of its operation which marksa phenomenal growth when compared with huge estimated pension liabilitiesin the public sector prior to 2004.
She said the commission’s decision to embark on the establishment of zonal offices in all the six geo political zones of the country was in the bid to decentralize its activities and bring it closer to contributors and retirees. “With our presence in the South West zone now, we expect all stake-holders to avail themselves of our services by visiting our office to make enquiries, lodge complaints and seek enlightenment on the contributory pension scheme. In addition, our presence will facilitate closer interaction with the state pension offices by assisting them to comply with the CPS” she stated.
While commending the states in the South West for having made reasonable progress in adoption and implementation of the CPS, particularly Lagos, which enacted the pension law since 2007, she noted that a lot need to be done.
Lagos presently has a pension asset of N46.5 billion having registered 45,730 employees and has issued remittance benefit bonds ofN18.9 billion. Oscan State that enacted the pension law in 2009 has registered 45,106 employees having remitted N4.15 billion while N1.9 billion has so far been remitted into the retirement Benefit Bond Redemption Fund Account.
Ogun State, which also enacted its pension law in 2007, has also made significant progress having registered 24,902 employees, remitted N10.9 billion as pension contribution and N3 billion into the Retirement Benefits Bond Redemption Account.
…By Modestus Anaesoronye…