Lawmakers pledge thorough review of Pension Reform Act 2014

Cross section of participants at the event.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Federal lawmakers have asked pension sector operators to identify sections of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, to be amended, pledging to ensure thorough review of the pension law to engender comfortable lifestyle for retirees.

The lawmakers stated this at the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) 4th National Assembly Retreat 2024 held on Saturday in Lagos.

The retreat themed: ‘The CPS: Navigating Challenges and Unlocking a Secured Future for Pensioners’ provided a robust platform for the lawmakers and pension operators to chart the way forward for the pension sector.

The event had in attendance Chairmen of both Senate and House committee, members of House Committee on Pensions and members of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Sen. Fasuyi Oluwole, was emphatic, while calling on people operators to articulate sections of the PRA 2014 that needed an amendment.

From left: Member Hous Committee on Pensions, Hon. Thaddeus Attah; Chairman, Hon. Hussaini Jallo; Sen.Donald Onuoha and Member House Committee on Pensions, Hon. Obetta Chidi at the event.

He also urged the operators to work closing with lawmakers to ensure the system is operated with human face.

He said the retreat was very enlightening for him and other lawmakers and has armed them with information and enable them to understand the scheme more as they go about their lawmaking activities.

He urged the pension operators to keep up the engagement with lawmakers as the only way to foster a good working relationship between the parties.

On his part, the Chairman of the House Committee on pensions, Honourable Hussaini Jallo, commended the pension operators for taking this step and reiterated that his committee is committed to working for the benefit of pensioners in particular and Nigerians in general.

”I want to assure PenOp that, the members of the House Committee on Pension under the leadership of Hon. Hussaini Mohammed Jallo (MHR) of the 10th House of Representatives were carefully selected based on their track records of their respective achievements and are ready to discharge their responsibilities diligently and are ever ready to assist you in overcoming your challenges which by extension will result to better service to our retirees,” he submitted.

The Vice President of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Joy Ojakovo, said the Contributory Pension Scheme has brought many benefits to individuals and the nation at large and the industry needs to continue to work with stakeholders to improve the scheme rather than destroy the gains of the system.

The Chief Executive Officer PenOp, Oguche Agudah, said the essence of the retreat was to enlighten and engage the lawmakers on the workings of the contributory pension Scheme (CPS), stating that the two-day retreat saw the pension operators take the lawmakers on various sessions, including areas like How pension funds are invested; the benefit payment process, the challenges of accrued rights and state pension management.

Rising from the retreat, the pension fund operators and the lawmakers agreed to work on a number of items including;
a commitment to work together with both houses to tackle the issue of accrued rights, which causes a number of treasury-funded retirees to experience delays in receipt of pensions; be creative and focused on ensuring that the value of pensions that retirees receive in retirement will be enough to live comfortably, especially in light of the rising inflation and devaluation of the local currency; ensuring constant engagement between the industry and the committees in both
houses to aid a better understanding of issues affecting the industry.

It was also agreed that the pension industry needs to work on constant education and enlightenment of Nigerians, both literate and illiterate, on the workings of the scheme and the positive impact of the industry on the economy as many Nigerians don’t seem to understand the basics of the scheme.

Overall, the lawmakers left with a better understanding of the CPS and urged continuous engagements between the stakeholders in the industry.

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