Following the dawn of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has urged States and Local governments in country that are yet to adopt the Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS) to do so to enable their employees benefits from the scheme.
The Director General of PenCom, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu who made the call at a conference on Pension Reform Act 2014 organised by the commission stated that in order to ensure that pension services are made available to all Nigerian pensioners, PenCom had established functional offices in the six geo-political zones, which are now strategically positioned to facilitate and offer the needed technical assistance to state and local governments in their efforts to adopt and implement the CPS.
According to her, the conference with a theme, ” Sensitizing Major Stakeholders on Developments Ushered in by the Pension Reform Act 2014″ was meant to sensitize relevant pension stakeholders in the South West geopolitical zone on the provisions and developments of the new act.
She noted that before the enactment of the PRA 2014, several states in the Federation especially states in South -West geopolitical zone have established CPS and were at various stages of implementation, adding that the application of the CPS by States and Local governments has received boost under the PRA 2014.
On performance of the CPS, she said that the payment of pension under the CPS has be prompt and consistent since 2007, adding that from a story of about N2trillion in pension deficit under the defunct defined benefits Scheme as at 2004 to accumulated large pool of investible fund of over N4.5trillion pension assets as at June 2014.
She noted that the CPS has more than 6.2million contributors that have been registered since the inception of the Act in 2004.
The PenCom boss added that the amended act has provided wider coverage for private sector employee and upward review of the minimum rate of pension contribution, adding that the PRA 2014 has also reviewed upwards the sanctions and penalties against infractions of the provisions of the Act.
Anohu-Amazu further said that the new amended act made provision for voluntary participation in the CPS thereby paving the way for the coverage of the informal sector.
Furthermore the PRA 2014 made provision that allows contributors seeking to own their primary homes, to apply part of their retirement savings account balance balances as equity contribution for residential mortgage, subject to the guidelines issued by the commission.
She assured that when the act is implemented the development would assist in bridging the housing deficit in Nigeria.
She noted that the commission has commenced the process of reviewing its investment regulations with a view to facilitating the investment of Pension funds in bankable infrastructure in the country.
Finally, she assured that the PRA 2014 was made to repeal the PRA 2004 to address challenges hindering pension services in the country in the last ten years.