By Gabriel Omoh, Babajide Komolafe, Victor Ahiuma-Young and Rosemary Onuoha
ENUGU—NATIONAL Pension Commission, PenCom, yesterday in Enugu, said total pension assets as at November, 2011, stood at N2.4 trillion, even as the Commission disclosed that over N 1.284 billion was used to service retirees’ benefits monthly.
This came as PenCom threatened to begin full application of enabling law to force employers to comply with the law, especially on remittances of monies deducted from employees’ salaries, saying it had already taken 52 companies to court for non-compliance.
At a one-day workshop organised for business editors, finance, insurance and labour correspondents, it said 4.92 million Nigerians had registered with the scheme through the Pension Funds Administrators, PFAs, as at November this year.
Director-General, PenCom, Mr. Mohammed Ahmad, who was represented by Mr. Manzuma Mamman, Commissioner in-charge of Administration, said during the year under review, the commission raised the capital requirements for PFAs from N150 million to N1 billion, of which the deadline is June 2012.
Director-General said “We have aggressively intensified our compliance mechanism by taking legal action against defaulting employers. The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has continued to support the Industry by ensuring that service providers to the Federal government comply with the BPP Act with regards to the Pension reform Act 2004.”
According to Ahmad “The industry has continued to record modest achievements as 4.92 million Nigerians had registered on the Scheme as at November this year. There are currently about 40,794 retirees from the public and private sectors under the Contributory Pension Scheme who are collecting their monthly pensions either by programmed withdrawal or annuity. They have collected over N 115.6 Billion as lump sum at the point of retirement and are collecting about N 1.284 billion as monthly pension. Additionally, assets worth N2.4 trillion have been accumulated as at November, 2011.”
The PenCom DG noted that the Commission also continued to collaborate and engage the State Governments in the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme in the States, adding ‘’ The number of State Governments that have commenced the implementation of the scheme has increased to 18. Also, the support of the Debt Management Office (DMO) was obtained to ensure that, as a condition, State Governments desirous of obtaining Bonds must key into the Contributory Pension Scheme. ‘’
‘’During the year under review, we continued with the regulatory and supervisory philosophy of the Commission, which is risk-based and consultative, covering all activities of the Commission with particular emphasis on issuance of guidelines and regulations; surveillance of licensed operators; compliance and enforcement; supervision of investment of pension funds; and maintenance of a databank on pension matters. In the same vein, we intensified efforts in the on-site inspection of employers, collaboration with regulatory and professional bodies, public enlightenment campaigns and application of regimes of sanctions.”
Ahmad revealed that a number of initiatives would be introduced in the coming year and part of them is that the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) transfer mechanism would be made operational as the framework is currently being reviewed by the industry while a Multiple Fund structure would be introduced to provide RSA holders with choices of investments, subject to specific guidelines by the end of the second quarter of next year.
The DG said that additional disclosure requirements would be required of operators to promote further transparency and accountability in the industry while Risk Management and Analysis System which is the core supervisory application would be finalised and would greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commission.
It added that “the main objectives of organising the Workshop are to provide a platform to interact with the general public through the media and present our scorecard for the year that would embody our achievements and challenges in the preceding year and the outlook for following year.
The forum also serves a feedback mechanism and the decisions taken at the forum continue to be our reference points in our activities. It would in the same vein provide the media with the first hand information, issues, activities and challenges in the industry with a view to assisting you the media practitioners in your reportage on the industry.”