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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Director-General National Pension Commission (PenCom), Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, as part of the commission’s renewed efforts at ensuring pensions funds are channeled towards economic development through viable and safe investments, will be addressing a large diverse audience at the National Lecture Series of the Catholic Brothers United (CBU) scheduled to hold in Lagos.
A statement by the Public Relation Officer of CBU, Chika Izuora, said the event which holds on June 26, at the Mc Govern Hall of St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, with the theme: “The Use of Pension Funds as a Catalyst for Economic Diversification” is considered apt as the country grapples with the challenges of acute infrastructure deficit needed to propel economic growth.
He noted that the lecture which is in its 17th year in the series aims at providing a national discourse on how the country can leverage on funds like the pension funds to accelerate economic development and growth.
In accepting to speak at the forum, the Director General noted: “It is noteworthy that the Catholic Brothers United (CBU) has sustained the practice of community development activities that have been uplifting the Church and the entire community.
The Annual Lecture is one of such programmes that is worthy of commendation”.
Anohu-Amazu whose acceptance letter to be the guest speaker was conveyed through Ibrahim Buwai said, ” The proposed topic of the lecture: The Use of pension funds as a Catalyst for Economic Diversification: harmonises with our renewed efforts at ensuring pensions funds are channeled towards economic development through viable and safe investments. We therefore look forward to joining you at the Annual Lecture, as proposed.
Commenting on the initiative, president of CBU, Emmanuel Uwukhor said financing infrastructure projects using pension funds has been a major topical issue that has generated much controversies given the experience with the previous pension scheme.
Uwukhor stated that it has become imperative to use the CBU platform to further clarify issues around such discussion as huge population of the Catholic community are subscribers to the Contributory Pensions Scheme (CPS) while others in the informal sector are itching to join the scheme.
“What we want to achieve is to sensitise the teeming Catholic faith and also the general public on the need to understand the benefits of the CPS and how the initiative will lead to fruitful retirement.
We know the family value system is collapsing and the average Nigerian is facing challenges and therefore early savings using this channel would provide them some relief at old age, so we owe the society the responsibility as enshrined in our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to educate them on government policies that aims to better their lot.”
He also said he is aware that the PenCom is leading a nationwide enlightenment which is robustly supported by Pension Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) in a new initiative to launch all Nigerians into the Pension Scheme via the Micro Pension Scheme.
Uwukhor noted that with the new initiative, individuals would now have the rare opportunity to become pensioners that was exclusive of public officers and lately informal sector.
Uwukhor expressed joy that PenCom has articulated the plan to attract 20 million Nigerians into the scheme by 2019 and 30 million by the year 2024, adding that such programmes as enunciated by CBU will go a long way to help realise the objective .
The President commended PenCom for developing the initiative which is designed to have inclusive and expanded coverage.