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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Director-General National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu has bagged the 2015 the Sun award in the Public Service category.
The award plaque was presented to her alongside other winners, including the Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Willy Obiano at a ceremony in Lagos over the weekend.
Presenting the award to the on behalf of the management of The Sun Newspapers, Tinubu commended Anohu-Amazu for her commitment to ensuring success for the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
Giving reasons for the award, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Eric Osagie said the Public Service Awards goes to top public servants, who, in the spirit of national transformation, have demonstrated an uncommon character, passion, innovation and unalloyed commitment in service delivery and thereby rendering maximum benefit to the country.
He said Mrs. Anohu-Amazu was chosen as winner of The Sun Public Service Award 2015 after a two-day debate by members of the newspapers’ Board of Editors, saying her emergence was in recognition of her remarkable achievements in ensuring a healthy pension scheme in the country.
“On assumption of office as DG, Pencom, you have successfully completed the process of a major review of pension reform 2014, which culminated in an executive bill, which has since been passed into law by the National Assembly. Pension fund has also experienced a steady growth under your leadership,” Osagie stated.
Accepting the award, Anohu-Amazu expressed delight for award saying the honour came most unexpectedly, an honour she cherishes.
Relieving her sojourn in pension industry, she said “we started this journey about 13 years ago, when I was working in the BPE and every enterprise we wanted to sell had a pension deficit. All the investors said it was either we excised the pension deficit or sold the companies for a pittance. So, the then DG of BPE, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, decided that we had to find a solution. And it was at his insistence that, together with the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, the pension initiative was born.
“There had been other efforts. So many people tried and proffered different things and the Fola Adeola Committee’s mandate was to collate all these efforts and synthesise them into one workable solution. We took it to President Obasanjo, and given his own stance, he pushed the reforms through. And that is when we had the 2004 Act that culminated into the setting up of the pension institution and the pension commission as a regulator,” she narrated.
She said she was impressed by The Sun Newspaper’s consistency, fairness and fearlessness. “The Sun is not averse to taking a different viewpoint from the rest,” she stressed.
A key player in pension reform in the country, Mrs. Anohu-Amazu was part of the team of experts that initiated the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in Nigeria. She served in the Fola Adeola Pension Reform Committee set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, whose work led to the enactment of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004. She was honoured with a Presidential commendation for the quality of work done on the 2004 pension reform.
Prior to joining PenCom as the pioneer Commission Secretary/Legal Adviser, she consulted for many private sector initiatives as well as non-governmental organizations and public institutions including the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
Mrs. Anohu-Amazu holds LL.B. in Law from the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. She is a member of the Nigerian Bar and holds a Masters’ degree in Telecommunication & Information Technology Law from the London School of Economics. She attended the Executive Education programme at the Wharton Business School, Pennsylvania where she obtained certification in “Negotiations: Bargaining for Advantage”, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where she obtained a certificate in “Leaders in Development: Managing Economic and Political Change”; and the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.
She assumed leadership as Acting Director General of the Commission in December, 2012, following the expiration of tenure of the pioneer Executive Management Committee.
Under her leadership, pension fund assets have continued on a steady growth trajectory increasing by over 60 per cent as at year end 2014, due to the steadfast implementation of the Investment Regulation which ensures the safety of pension funds. She also led the process of a major review of the PRA 2004 which was concluded with the enactment of the PRA in July, 2014.
She continues to spearhead the expansion of the investment horizon for pension funds towards infrastructure and real estate. Amongst other strategic focus areas, the Commission continues to promote a wider coverage of the Contributory Pension Scheme by encouraging informal sector participation. PenCom has also built global strategic partnerships for the promotion of the Nigerian pension industry.
In July 2014, PenCom hosted the maiden World Pension Summit ‘Africa Special’ in collaboration with the World Pension Summit Organisation, Amsterdam (now part of Pension and Investment (P&I), a publication of Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc.) the first ever summit to be held outside of the Netherlands.
Mrs. Anohu-Amazu was appointed as substantive Director General of PenCom in October, 2014.