By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
TRUSTFUND Pensions Plc weekend in Lagos, said it had paid a total of N13.99 billion to 37,536 pensioners under the new Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.

Acting Managing Directing, Trustfund Pensions, Mrs. Helen Da-Souza, said the amount covered the period between July 2004 and April 2012.

She spoke at an interactive session with the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUGTWN) in Lagos.

Da-Souza, who reaffirmed the company’s commitment to effective pension fund administration, said “at a time when the industry is largely grasping with the rudiments of the business, Trustfund has over 10,000 retirees on its payroll who access their benefits promptly every month in their bank accounts at various locations across the country.”

According to her, the company’s focus was the welfare and comfort of Nigerian workers “who deserve peace of mind and financial security on retirement” noting that the company had introduced numerous services and products to guarantee a smooth transition for retiring workers.

The Acting Managing Director who applauded the introduction of the CPS as a veritable tool to addressing the age-long trauma associated with pension system in Nigeria, faulted the case in some states, where governments selected Pension Fund Adminstratos, PFAs, for workers without adequate consultation and input from labour, saying “this does not speak well of the organised labour movement.”

According to her, as major stakeholders and beneficiaries of pension schemes, labour should take the driving seat in the entire process of transformation to the new pension scheme in the states.

Da Souza, who also faulted deductions from workers’ salaries without remitting to the PFAs by some employers, said the practice was unacceptable in view of the long term negative impact on affected workers.

She said, “as some of us are aware, there are many instances where employers make deductions without remitting. The implication of this is that upon retirement, the affected workers may not have the correct amount that is due to them. To this end, labour has a vital role to play in ensuring that the contributions of its members are safe and secured as those of us present as workers of today are the pensioners of tomorrow.”

She regretted the challenges faced by some contributors in the textile industry as a result of the impasse in the country where most factories had shut down leading to non funding of RSA accounts of the affected workers.

She prayed that the current efforts by the present administration to revamp the sector would yield the desired results so that most of the accounts could be funded to enable the workers earn their pensions at retirement.

Speaking, General Secretary of NUTGTWN, Comrade Issa Aremu commended the management of Trustfund Pensions for presenting workers with detailed update of its operations and solicited the company in the campaign for the revival of the textile industry, noting that “the struggle for the re industrialisation is a collective responsibility.”

Aremu who is also a Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, assured that workers in the textile industry would remain with Trustfund Pensions because of its reliability and value added services, advocating higher payments by employers in the contributory pension scheme.

Trustfund operates with authorised share capital of N2 billion, and a customer base of 543,860 as at April 2012. It c urrently manages over N164.6 billion pension funds, offering services in the following areas: retirement savings account (RSA) administration, pension funds investment management, pension advisory services, pre-retirement and post retirement pension seminar services and pension & benefit processing and payment services.

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