From left: Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Chairman House Committee on Pension, Honourable Hassan Adamu Shekrau at the event today in Abuja.
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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Nigerian Police Force (NPF); Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and many other organisations have opposed the bill to amend the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.
Representatives from the organisations stood firmly against the bill today at the public hearing on the bill for Act to amend the PRA 2014, chaired by Chairman, Pensions Committee, Federal House of Representatives, Hon Hassan Adamu Shekarau, which held at the Federal House of Representative, Abuja.
They took time to state while the bill should be dropped as it negates current realities and if passed into law would increase financial burden of the Federal Government.
President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, noted that the bill looks good on the surface, but inwardly it will destroy the future of workers, adding that the position of the congress is that the bill should be dropped.
He noted that the bills are not workable and that if implemented, they would collapse the pension system.
He said the federal government can absolve could more financial burden going by the present low revenue.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who was represented by Commissioner for Police, David Bodo, said the NPF Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) has done very well and that the police is of the opinion that it will remain with the CPS.
He called on the government to attend to issued already raised by the force which are being attended to by the National Pension Commission (PenCom), stressing that the welfare of the the Nigerian police would be well taking care of under the CPS.
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) also support the remain of the para military with the CPS
The former Board Member National Pension Commission (PenCom) and Director, Centre for Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor, MNI, called for the killing of the bill as it will burden the government.
The Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria (CPIN) stated that exempting the paramilitary out of the scheme will be retrogressive to the economy, adding that PenCom should be empowered to regulate properly and be encourage to do more research and listen to people.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), kicked against the exemption of paramilitary, adding that the government may not have the money to cater for pensions of the workers if they are exempted.
CBN noted that going by current realities, especially now that the nation depends more on oil which the world are presently turning away from, it would be difficult to cater for the pension of members of the paramilitary if they are exempted.
Former Director-General PenCom, Mohammed Ahmad, said there is need to sustain policies, adding that the number of people seeking exemption may be up 50 per cent of government workers, which it cannot cater for.
He said the budget cannot sustain the exemption.! adding that CPS remains a safe vehicle for creating national saving.
He said people should make policies for history, not for themselves and that if there are issues, they should be addressed according.
President, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Longe Eguarekhide, said the critical thing with the CPS is funding, stressing that policy maker should always think of ways to improve lives instead of creating more burden for the government.
Acting DG, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, said the issues raised are challenges which are presently worked on, adding that the challenge is temporal which would be resolved very soon.
She said it is misinformation that the paramilitary is exempted in India, adding that the military which exempted seem to be regretting exempting the CPS.
“It is wrong to ask one to give what he does not have. The government has being borrowing to pay salaries and and cannot continue to borrow to pay pension.
There is no point to legislate what you cannot enforce. It is too young to amend the law. If we allow this law pass we cannot recover. We should come together to sustain the gains of the CPS,” she said.