By Etuka Sunday
National Pension Commission (PENCOM) has pledged its determination to assiduously work to change the hash retirement experience of pensioners.
The Acting Director-General of PENCOM, Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, while speaking yesterday at the World Pension Summit Africa, said that the aim of the Nigerian Pension Reform was to change the retirement experience of Nigerians and to develop better investment plans for pension funds.
Anohu-Amazu said that the mission of the summit was to create a platform to discuss retirement issues with a plan to ensure that pension funds in Nigeria serve their real purpose of helping retirees
prepare for the future. She said the World Pension Summit Africa had been going on in Amsterdam for 10 years but was coming to Africa for the first time with the theme, ‘Shaping the Future’ which according to her was “in recognition of Nigeria’s growing importance in the utilisation of
pension funds for the larger economy.” She discredited reports that pension funds had been locked down, saying that there had been strict regulations of the funds to ensure that it was well managed.
She explained that the primary objective of the funds was for them to be available for the retirees at any time; therefore the mode of investing it must be regulated to have this mission well accommodated. She noted that the employees’ contributions have been increasing and the regulators have been more interested in the safety of the funds in terms of investment.
The World Pension Summit, according to her, would be out to come up with innovative ways to utilize the funds in line with existing regulations – to design safe responsible instruments that would ensure that the Nigerian retirees truly get the benefits of their long term contributions.
There has always been the need to provide more information to Nigerians about the benefits of their pension savings and other details like the retirement age and processes involved. Mrs Anohu-Amazu revealed that there were already nearly 6million retirement savings accounts in the country, but with a working population of about 50 million people, indeed there was still need to give more sensitization to the Nigerian people. She said that this borders more on general financial literacy education for all Nigerians to enable them make informed choices, adding that it was important to get the youths to understand the importance of pension savings early.