Mrs CHINELO ANOHU-AMAZU
WELCOME REMARKS BY CHINELO ANOHU-AMAZU, DIRECTOR GENERAL, NATIONAL PENSION COMMISSION AT THE SENSITIZATION WORKSHOP ON THE CONTRIBUTORY PENSION SCHEME FOR JUSTICES, JUDGES AND SENIOR JUDICIAL OFFICERS ORGANIZED BY THE NATIONAL PENSION COMMISSION ON 1 DECEMBER, 2016 AT THE NATIONAL JUDICIAL INSTITUTE, ABUJA
My Lord, the Honourable Ag. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Nkanu Onnonghen, CFR,
My Lords, the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court, here present,
My Lord, the Honourable President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Z. A. Bulkachuwa, CFR,
My Lord, the Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice Ibrahim N. Auta,
My Lords, the Honourable Chief Judges of States,
My Lord, the Honourable President of the National Industrial Court, Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo, OFR,
Senior Judicial and Legal Officers,
My Lords, the distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am honoured to welcome your lordships to this Sensitization Workshop on the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) which is being hosted at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja. The National Pension Commission (the Commission) organized this Workshop within the ambit of its mandate of conducting public awareness, enlightenment and education on the establishment, operations and management of the CPS, as stipulated in Section 23 (f) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014. This Workshop is the third in the series organized specifically for the Honourable Justices and Judicial Officers as part of the continuous effort to disseminate knowledge and understanding of the rudiments and mechanism of the CPS, in order to facilitate the onerous task of adjudication on pension matters by the Honourable Justices and Judges of the apex and lower courts. On behalf of the Management and staff of the Commission, I wish to convey our sincere gratitude to your Lordships for accepting our invitation to participate at this important Workshop, amidst your busy schedules.
Since the previous workshops conducted in 2013, there have been remarkable developments in the Nigerian pension reform implementation. As you are aware, the Pension Reform Act 2004, which was the governing legislation of the Pension Reform in Nigeria, was repealed and re-enacted in July 2014. It is worthy to note that the Pension Reform Act 2014 re-enacted the copious provisions of the repealed 2004 Act, which include inter alia, the establishment of the Contributory Pension Scheme as well as the National Pension Commission as the sole regulator and supervisor of pension matters in Nigeria. Amongst other significant revisions, the PRA 2014 introduced some innovations in the pension system, instituted a stiffer regime of sanctions and penalties for infringements, upward review of the minimum rate of pension contribution in order to enhance the value of pension payouts and expanded the coverage of private sector employees under the CPS. Therefore, these new initiatives as well as the major areas of divergence between the PRA 2004 and the PRA 2014 will be elaborately highlighted and discussed at this Workshop by the distinguished speakers.
My Lords, distinguished participants, as a novel concept in Nigeria, the introduction of the CPS to replace the old Defined Benefit (DB) Scheme was laudable in instituting an effective and efficient pension system. However, as it is with all new initiatives, the implementation process often results in certain challenges, and disputes may arise due to lack of adequate understanding of responsibilities on the part of stakeholders or misconstruction of the provisions of the Act. Furthermore, in the course of enforcing compliance on recalcitrant employers by the Commission, some disputes emanate that are ultimately resolved in the Courts. Therefore, the important role of the Judiciary in ensuring that the Pension Reform remains on course and deepened, as enshrined in the PRA 2014 cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, in discharging this task, the Judiciary requires a forum such as the present one, for in-depth discourse on the provisions of the PRA 2014, as well as legal and institutional frameworks of the Contributory Pension Scheme. Accordingly, this Workshop has been structured to achieve these important objectives.
My Lords, we carefully considered and selected the distinguished speakers at this Workshop, in order to ensure effective delivery of its content. They include the pioneer Director General of the Commission, Mr. M. K. Ahmad, Senior Legal practitioners and Pension Operators. Their papers would also be discussed by distinguished judicial officers and legal luminaries. The topics to be covered at this Workshop have also been carefully designed to provide a clear and lucid understanding of the pertinent legal and regulatory aspects of the CPS that would enhance the knowledge of the Judicial Officers. The major areas of discussion would include a General Overview of the CPS in Nigeria; The Application of Regulatory and Supervisory tools in the Nigerian Pension Industry; Perspectives on the Administration of Retirement and Terminal Benefits; An Appraisal of the Regime of Administrative Sanctions, Offences and Penalties under the PRA 2014; An Examination of the Compliance & Enforcement Activities of PenCom and the Effectiveness of Dispute Resolution Mechanisms under the PRA 2014. It is our expectation that at the end of the 2-day Workshop, the Honourable Justices and Judges would consider the workshop worthwhile due to the knowledge shared and imbibed on the Contributory Pension Scheme.
My Lords, Distinguished participants, I wish you smooth and fruitful deliberations.