By Victor Ahiuma-Young
IBADAN—NIGERIA Labour Congress, NLC, Monday, in Ibadan, accused state governments of violating the provisions of the Pension Reform Act, PRA, of 2004, warning that such violation could soon lead to industrial unrest across the states.
The Congress argued that the continued violation of the provisions of the PRA by the state governments was a threat to success of the contributory pension scheme and called on PENCOM, to intervene before it got out of hand.
Similarly, NLC noted that attempt to remove the military from the coverage of the contributory pension scheme, would create a major crisis that would be difficult to manage, saying it would lead to other sector agitating to pull out among other things.
At an interactive session between labour leaders and the National Pension Commission, PENCOM, NLC argued that such move as being canvassed in the House of Representatives, would not only be a disservice to the objectives of the Pension Reform Act of 2004, but would question the integrity of the scheme.
Addressing the participants, President of NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said the aspect mostly violated was the right of workers to freely choose their Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, stressing that it could lead to industrial unrest if not urgently addressed.
According to him: “the greatest challenge facing PENCOM today is the will to extend the enforcement of the compliance on employers’ regarding the contributors’ right to select PFAs of their choice.
The major culprits are the state governments who have continued to deny contributors under their employment the right to PFAs of their choice in line with the dictates of the law. We call on PENCOM’s intervention in order to prevent its snowballing into a major industrial crisis. There is also the worker’s right to change from one PFA to another if he so desired.”
This has been more a failure to implement by there law.”
“We also wish to draw attention to a disturbing trend that is emerging within the pension sector. This is is the ongoing agitation for the removal of the military personnel from the contributory pension secheme in a country that is still challenged by the absence of social security system, depleting the area of coverage of the pension scheme would amount to a great disservice to the vision of the Act.”
Collaborating, General Secretary of NLC, Comrade John Odah, warned that the danger in removing the military was that others like the police, the customs and other para-military establishments as well as the private sector workers who believe they were forced into the scheme would also want to pull out.
He argued that there was nothing wrong if the government decided to fully fund both its share and the military personnel ‘share, but removing the military out of the scheme was a great danger to the scheme.