The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has called on authorities of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to explore the possibility of investing in housing development in the country, especially for public servants.
Fashola stated this recently, in Lagos, when the board of PenCom paid him a courtesy visit at the State House, noting that the long-term nature of funds available to the Pension Funds would enable workers own their homes with a payment mode spread over their working lives.
He expressed his support for quest to review investment provisions of the Pension Fund in order to allow the Commission or those vested with authority to take away the powers for varying the investment profiles from within the law and embed same in regulations that can be issued as subsidiary regulations from time to time.
â€œSuch an amendment would accelerate the process of modifying rather than having to go back to the Parliament anytime there is a need to change the rules because the difficulty in quickly affecting such agency may debar it from benefiting from investments that can be very profitable,â€ he stated.
The governor promised that the state government will ensure that it provides security for everybody that chooses to serve in the public sector, during which period they expend the most productive part of their lives.
â€œWe would do what is needed to ensure that the administration of pension is made seamless and painless. We would deploy technology into it because not much can be done with keeping records through books and ledgers,â€ he added.
Chairman of PenCom, Chief Oluwole Adeosun, commended the contribution which Lagos has been making to the successful implementation of the Pensions Act, adding their visit was partly to assess the implementation of the 2004 Pensions Act by the Lagos State government.
Also speaking at the occasion, PenCom Director-General, Mr M. K. Ahmad, disclosed that four million Nigerians have, so far, registered with the Commission, noting that Lagos was the first state to establish a comprehensive framework for pension scheme as well as implementing the pension scheme as stated in the country.
He, however, added that 15 states have, so far, joined in the implementation of the scheme while two other states have shown no interests, adding that the assets of the Pension Funds presently stands at N1.5 trillion.
Ahmad also said that the Fund was also interested in harmonizing some grey areas discovered and collaborate on capacity building with the state government such that a strong supervisory and regulatory framework to ensure safety of pension assets is maintained.
The PenCom boss explained that the funds of the organization were open for investment and it has been discussing with agencies like the International Finance Organisation (IFC) on the need to further review its investment regulations so that it can record investment in infrastructure.