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Chuks Udo Okonta
Employers of labour who employ over three people and have not joined the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), refusing to open Retirement Saving Account (RSA) for their employees as stated in the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, thereby depriving those employees of pension right have been implored to desist from this act and do the needful before the law catches up with them.
Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 states that every employer who employ up to three people and above must join Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) by opening a Retirement Saving Account (RSA) with Pension Fund Administrator of their choice for its employees.
The Director, Centre for Pension Advocacy, Mr. Ivor Takor, gave this charge while speaking on a special pension programme ‘Retirement Mata’ packaged by Inspen Media, publishers of Inspenonline and sponsored by the National Pension Commission (PenCom) on Naija 102.7 FM.
The programme which is a 30-minute programme is aired every Friday in Pidgin English between the hours of 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM to sensitise the public about retirement and pension related matters.
Mr. Takor who was speaking on “Employees’ Right to Pension” too time to explained employees’ right to pension and implored defaulting employers who are yet to comply with the law as regards their employees’ pension, to do so before the law catches up with them.
He also called on Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to brace up to their responsibility by ensuring that every right accruable to their account holders is given to them.
From left: OAP Naija FM, Onoge Tega Ben (OTB); Former Board Member National Pension Commission (PenCom) and Director, Centre for Pension Right Advocacy Ivor Takor; Managing Director Inspen Media, Chuks Udo Okonta and On-Air Personality, Naija FM, Isaac Osamoje (Osam) at the programme in Lagos.
Takor said every employee working in a place that employs three people and above, have the right to pension by law and charged the employees to report the employer who refuses them their right to PenCom and when such report is made to PenCom, such employee does not need to put his name and PenCom will take it up and investigate, adding that after investigation, if the employer is found guilty, he will be compelled to pay that employee his pension.
He said Pension Reform Act 2014 has empowered and mandated PenCom to enforce pension compliance by ensuring that defaulting employers who deny its employees’ pension right are sanction according to law.
On whether RSA holder has the right by law to change PFA, Takor said PenCom is working on this to ensure that things are put in the right perspective so that when the time comes, anybody who want to change his PFA can do so without problem, adding that when PenCom is ready on this, all will be duly informed.
On whether a RSA holder has right by law to information regarding the progress or otherwise of his saving account which is being managed by a PFA, Takor explained that it is the duty of all PFAs to ensure that RSA holders are adequately informed on the progress of his account consistently until the person is due for retirement.
He said a situation where a PFA refuses to send account statement to its RSA holders on regular basis, the RSA holder has the right to report such a PFA to PenCom.
On whether the RSA holders have the right to withdraw from their account whenever they have financial challenges, Takor said since the RSA is meant for pension, it cannot be withdrawn anyhow until the holder is retired from service at old age.
Tarkor said PenCom has concluded arrangement for the commencement of Micro Pension in January 2019.
Meanwhile, during the news segment, Editor-in-Chief Inspenonline, Chuks Udo Okonta, said PenCom said pension assets as at September 30, stood at N8.34 trillion which he said represent over N1 billion growth between August to September 30, 2018.
Okonta said out of the N8.34 trillion pension assets, PenCom said N5.9 trillion is invested into Federal Government Securities by PFAs
He said PenCom said the Retirement Saving Account holders have grown to 8.28 billion as at end of September 2018.