Pension

N5.31tn pension funds not idle – PenCom

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From left: Director-General National Pension Commission Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu; Head Compliance and Development, Muhannad Umar and Head Benefits and Insurance Olulana Loyinmi at the event.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has reiterated that the over N5.31 trillion pension funds are not laying idle in any bank account as alleged by those who do not understand the working of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

Its Director-General Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, disclosed this today at a media parley in Lagos. She noted that all pension funds are invested according to the the industry’s investment guidelines.

She said the industry’s investment guidelines specified how the funds are to be invested, stressing that some investors do not get funds from the industry because they fail to meet the requirements in the guidelines.

She said the industry is willing to investment in infrastructure and other projects, but the terms and conditions spelt out in the investment guidelines must be strictly adhered to. She maintained that the commission and pension operators would not bend the rules to please any body.

The PenCom boss urged those agitating for the deployment of pension funds to understand that the funds are held in trust for workers who who definitely get their contributions at retirement, hence all investment are done with the workers in mind.

She called on investors seeking the funds to tailor their proposals inline with the investment guidelines to enable them access them.

Anohu-Amazu also used the avenue to clear the issues on unpaid accrued rights which is preventing some retirees from getting their pension. She noted that the Federal Government is yet to pay N20 billion outstanding accrued rights of 2015, stressing that the non-payment is responsible for the delay in paying some retirees.

She urged the government to prioritize pension so as to sustain the confidence already built in the 12 years existence of the scheme.

On micro pension, she said the commission is working assiduously to ensure that all necessary requirements are in place for a smooth commencement of the initiative.

She noted that the commission had already commenced the sensitization of service providers and relevant regulators as well as the targeted workers in the informal sector with a view of creating the enabling environment and buy-in.

She posited that efforts are in top gear to it ensure robust technological platform is put in place to drive the initiative, adding that special mobile phone applications that had been successfully implemented in some jurisdictions for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers could be adopted to prop the plan.

“It is evident that a robust technological platform that would support the provision of customer services is necessary to effectively and efficiently register, collect contributions, provide Retirement Savings Account support, pay benefits and provide financial advisory services to this class of workers.

“Coincidently, special mobile phone applications had been successfully implemented in some jurisdictions for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers. The success stories of these applications drives the confidence that similar platform can be designed and implemented in Nigeria,” she said.

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