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Chuks Udo Okonta
Two years after the launch of Micro Pension Plan (MPP) which presently has over 70,000 contributors, Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) have been mandated to develop and forward an annual media campaign plan to drive subscription, to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) for approval on or before 31 January of every year.
PenCom stated this in a Framework For Enlightenment And Public Awareness For The Micro Pension Plan, sent to all pension fund administrators in the month of August, adding that this is in line with Section 2.2 of the Circular on Service Delivery by Pension Fund Administrators.
The regulator also stated that it shall be required to develop annual Media Campaign Plan for MPP on or before 31 January of each year.
PenCom noted that sequel to the release of the guidelines for the Micro Pension Plan, it identified the need to intensify public enlightenment in a sustained manner, in order to raise the level of awareness and acceptability of the MPP as a critical success factor.
It maintained that the framework spelt out the modalities for the Commission and Pension Fund Administrators to ensure effective and sustained enlightenment and public awareness drive of the MPP.
PenCom submitted that Section 2(3) of the PRA 2014 stipulates that employees of organisations with less than three employees as well as self-employed persons, shall be entitled to participate under the Scheme in accordance with Guidelines issued by the Commission, adding that Section 23 (f) of the PRA 2014 mandates the Commission to “carry out public awareness, enlightenment and education on the establishment, operations and management of the Scheme”.
The pension sector regulators said Sections 5.3.1(c) and 5.4.1(i) of the Guidelines for Micro Pension Plan 2018 stipulate that the Commission shall “create awareness by carrying out public enlightenment and education on the establishment, operations and management of MPP” and PFAs shall “conduct regular public awareness, enlightenment and education on Micro Pension Plan”, respectively.
Section 6.3.1 of the Guidelines for the Operations of Pension Fund Administrators stipulates that a PFA must obtain prior written approval of the Commission before advertising, promoting or providing information on its products and services or about its operations. The entire material for distribution, advertising, promotion or informing the public must be submitted to the Commission for this purpose, it posited.
PenCom stated that the framework aims to achieve the following: Set minimum standards for enlightenment and public awareness on MPP and ensure adherence to best practices in Public Relations.
Ensure that PFAs set up appropriate structures to effectively carry out enlightenment and public awareness for registered and prospective Micro Pension Contributors (MPC); protect registered and prospective MPC from false and misleading information; form the basis for monitoring and evaluating the enlightenment and public awareness efforts of the Commission and PFAs on the MPP and achieve the Pension Industry’s strategic vision on expanded coverage of the CPS.
It noted that the following rules shall apply to the Commission and PFAs. PFAs shall establish a desk and appoint an officer to oversee all enlightenment and public awareness activities on the MPP in line with Section 7.1.1(i) of the Guidelines for the Micro Pension Plan, issued by the Commission.
All messages on the MPP shall be communicated in clear, explicit and easy to understand terms; the content of MPP messages shall not be false or misleading; PFAs shall, in conducting enlightenment and public awareness campaigns, comply with the Code of Ethics and Best Practices for Licensed Pension Operators issued by the Commission with emphasis on Sections 3.3 and 3.4 of the document.
All advertisements on MPP shall be in line with provisions of Section 6.0 of the Guidelines for Operations of Pension Fund Administrators, issued by the Commission and shall not violate any extant law and/or Guidelines issued by the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) or any other licensed body for the regulation of advertisement in Nigeria.
The Commission and PFAs shall use the most appropriate communication channels for the audience and the Commission and PFAs shall conduct impact surveys on their enlightenment and public awareness campaigns