Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Umar
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Chuks Udo Okonta
The appointment of Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Umar as the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) pending Senate confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari is a welcome development as it will ensure continuity in the Commission especially as the Chairman and the four Commissioners are fresh hands in the Commission, a Legal Practitioner and the Executive Director, Centre For Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor, has said.
Takor, who was a former board member of PenCom, noted that the pension Industry looks forward to Senate’s expeditious confirmation of the appointments that will bring a new lease of life in PenCom and the industry that is emerging as the fasted growing industry in the country, creating jobs and value chain across industries within the financial sector of the economy.
He posited that it came as a big relief when it was announced as breaking news on Monday 29thSeptember, 2020 that President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a Chairman, Director General and four Commissioners for the National Pension Commission (PenCom subject to the Confirmation of the Senate, and that the names of the appointees has been forwarded to the Senate in line with Section 19 (3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014.
The Section provides that “The Chairman, Director-General and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Senate”. Section 19 (2) provides that the Board of the Commission shall consist of (a) a part-time Chairman who shall be a fit and proper person with adequate cognate experience in pension matters; (b) the Director-General of the Commission; (c) four full-time Commissioners of the Commission; (d) a representative each of the following agencies and institutions: Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Federal Ministry of Finance; Nigeria Labour Congress; Trade Union Congress of Nigeria; Nigeria Union of Pensioners; Nigeria Employers Consultative Association; Central Bank of Nigeria; Security and Exchange Commission; Nigeria Stock Exchange; and National Insurance Commission, he added.
By the Organogram of PenCom, he said the Commissioners who together with the Director-General are members of the Executive Committee of Pencom, will be heading various departments of the Commission.
“The Board of PenCom was dissolved in 2015 or thereabout and for almost five years, the Commission has been without a Board. It has become a convention in Nigeria that once a new administration is sworn in at the Federal level, all Governing Boards of Federal Government Agencies are dissolved and reconstituted at the pleasure of the President. In the absence of the Board, PenCom has been managed by a Director-General and currently by an Acting Director-Director General,” he said.
According to him, it is important to note that out of a Board membership of sixteen ten of them are Institutional representatives of critical stakeholders in the pension industry, whose inputs are critical in the formulation and provision of general policy guidelines for the discharge of the functions of the Commission; monitoring and ensure the implementation of policies and programmes of the Commission; and carrying out such other functions as necessary or expedient to ensure the efficient performance of functions of the Commission under the Act. It wasn’t only the absence of the Board that was a setback to the work of PenCom. Pencom for the years that there was no Board, had no Executive Committee.
He maintained that it is to the credit of the Acting Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahiru-Umar and members’ of the Management Team that PenCom has been able to move the pension industry forward through effective regulation and supervision of the industry; ensuring increased level of compliance by private sector employers; under their watch, small and medium enterprises are increasingly embracing the CPS; expanding the coverage of the CPS through the Micro Pension Plan, which as at June 2020, witnessed 51,974 informal sector workers enrolling into the CPS, contributing N42.1 million; under their watch, RSA registration grew to 9, 039,727 as at second quarter of 2020 growing pension assets to 11.08 trillion naira during the same period; and by ensuring that pension operators are managed by fit and proper persons, thereby ensuring that the industry continue to be insulated from fraud and maladministration thereby securing pension funds and assets.