Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar
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Chuks Udo Okonta
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has attributed the increase of pension assets from N6.42 trillion as at the end of March 2017 to N8.63 trillion as at December, 2018, a growth of N2.4 trillion (37.4 per cent) majorly to enforcement of compliance.
According to the Acting Director-General, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, upon her
assumption of duty in April, 2017, her team refocused the Commission’s priorities towards some fundamental aspects of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). “The Commission, thus, renewed impetus on ensuring the safety and growth of the pension fund assets through its strict enforcement of the Investment Regulations.
“The security of pension assets remains a significant indicator of the effectiveness of the CPS. It is indeed gratifying to note that pension assets increased from N6.42 trillion as at the end of March 2017 to N8.63trillion as at December, 2018. This indicated a growth of N2.4trillion (37.4 per cent) over the period,” she said.
She noted that during the period, there were several efforts made by the Commission to enhance its growth, stressing that there were emphasis on coverage expansion, due to enhanced enforcement of compliance.
Dahir-Umar posited that the recovery agents engaged by the commission to recover pension contributions from non-compliant organisations, continued to facilitate significant recoveries and the commission also intensified its strategy for covering more workers into the Contributory Pension Scheme by continuous engagement of the public through education and awareness campaigns.
“Furthermore, the Regulation on Investment of Pension Fund Asset was reviewed to introduce the Multi-Fund Structure for RSA Funds. This entailed the segregation into various Funds that are structured demographically to fit the risk appetite of contributors.
“The initiative allows the Funds to be invested in more alternative instruments, which would enhance return on investments,” she added.
She said the Commission also went further to implement a reduction in fees charged on the pension funds, stressing that the new fee regime was hinged on the need to reduce the costs to pension funds and thus enhance returns to beneficiaries. She maintained that this action assisted greatly in enhancing the balances in the Retirement Savings Accounts and consequently, the size of the periodic pension during retirement.
Dahir-Umar stressed that the commission is confident that the foregoing initiatives would continue to further boost the growth of pension assets.
She said the Commission had continued to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure implementation of the 10 per cent employer and 8 per cent employee rates of pension contributions, which she said the increment will equally improve the pension benefits of retirees, thereby, providing a more comfortable livelihood at retirement.