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Chuks Udo Okonta
For Pension Fund Administrators to effectively capture informal workers at the grassroots into the Micro Pension Plan (MPP), they need to employ and train specialised agents, the Chairman of Council, Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN), Gbadebo Olameru, has said.
He noted that due to the present structure of the insurance agency system, it may be difficult for pension operators to leverage the system, adding that most insurance agents are tied to insurance companies and not independent.
He urged pension operators to partner ARIAN to develop a robust agency network that would focus on pension and help harness huge opportunities at the grassroots.
Some pension operators who spoke with Inspenonline noted that they are presently exploring ways of leveraging agency system to reach out to informal sector workers workers at the grassroots.
According to the Acting Director-General, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, the micro pension plan is expected to significantly expand pension coverage to greater number of Nigerians and further generate additional long term funds for Nigeria’s economic development, adding that the Commission would collaborate with relevant stakeholders to sensitize and enlighten the target participants and members of the public on the features and benefits of the plan
She said the product is flexible with respect to contribution amount and the channel of remittance of contributions to the respective pension accounts, stressing that access to accumulated contributions is also flexible, seamless and facilitated by technology through varied payment system platforms.
She noted that a prospective Micro Pension contributor is required to open a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) by completing a physical or electronic registration form with a Pension Funds Administrator (PFA) of his/her choice, and the contributors may make contributions daily, weekly, monthly or as may be convenient to them.
She stated that every contribution shall be split into two, comprising 40 per cent for contingent withdrawal and 60 per cent for retirement benefits, adding that the contributor may, based on his/her needs, periodically withdraw the total or part of the balance of the contingent portion of his/her RSA, including all accrued investment income thereto.
The contributor, she said may also choose to convert the contingent portion of the contributions to the retirement benefits portion and the remaining balance in the RSA shall be available to the contributor upon retirement or attaining the age of 50 years.
“Pursuant to its regulatory and supervisory mandate, the Commission had established a separate Department dedicated to the supervision of all matters relating to Micro Pension Plan, including enforcement of compliance with the Guidelines and customer complaint handling and resolution. Our objective is to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery as well as transparency and accountability in the administration of the product by licensed pension operators,” she said.
She stated that guaranteed minimum pension will be given, provided the contributor made contributions for a cumulative period of not less than 120 months and the RSA balance at retirement shall not be less than N500,000.
She maintained that the plan is expected to significantly expand pension coverage to greater number of Nigerians and further generate additional long term funds for Nigeria’s economic development, adding that the Commission would collaborate with relevant stakeholders to sensitize and enlighten the target participants and members of the public on the features and benefits of the Micro Pension Plan.