By VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
RIVERS State Chapter of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has warned against any attempt by Federal and state governments to borrow money from the pension fund to finance infrastructural projects, arguing that doing so would jeopardize retirees’ contributions.
Speaking at a conference by Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, Rivers State, Chairman of TUC, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, insisted that the ability of the Federal and state governments to repay could not be guaranteed.
Onuegbu, who is also the National Industrial Relations Officer, IRO, of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, warned that such a move would hamper the ability of Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, to pay pensions to beneficiaries as at when due.
He said: “Borrowing from the pension fund by government to fund infrastructural projects is very dangerous because the federal and state governments are dependent on revenue from oil and gas, which is not stable. If there is a sharp and sustained drop in the oil price or quantity of oil sold, the ability of the state and federal governments to repay the money borrowed will be severally impacted. This will take the economy back to the era of non-payment of pensions.”
Speaking on The Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, and the Pension Review Act , PRA, 2004: Implementation, Emerging Challenges and Prospects in the Public Service, he decried non-remittance of pension deductions by employers, lamenting that some employers were only partially remitting their workers’ deductions to their Retirement Savings Accounts, RSAs, while some, many years after, were yet to key into the scheme, thereby, mortgaging the future of Nigerian workers.
On the implemention of the PRA 2004, he said “Non remittance of deduction from workers’ salary in line with the Pension Reform Act and the law is a major challenge.”