By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS — NATIONAL Pension Commission, PenCom, yesterday in Lagos said it was, in collaboration with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, compiling for prosecution a list of employers who have not been remitting deducted pension contributions.
According to the agency, the move is to arrest the growing cases of unremitted pension fund.
Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, who disclosed this at a briefing, ahead of the third edition of World Pension Summit, WPS, taking place between September 27 and 28, insisted that non-remittance of deducted pension contributions of workers was an economic crime.
She also disclosed that pension assets in Nigeria had grossed about N6 trillion in the past 12 years of PenCom’s existence.
Decrying non-remittances by employers, Anohu-Amazu said: “Non-remittance is on two fronts. Those who are not contributing at all and those who have their contributions deducted from their salaries and not sent to their Retirement Saving Accounts, RSA.
“That in itself is a financial crime. We are working very closely with EFCC and there is collaboration. We are compiling the list of those that are not remitting because that is theft.
“We receive calls from individuals showing proof of deductions from their salaries and when they look at statements from their Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, it does not tally. This in itself the beauty of the contribution pension scheme because you can check while you are still working than when you are already retired.
‘’There are a lot of efforts being made and we are in control of the data and verification of those who are not remitting what they have deducted from the salaries of the workers.
“Those who have their account opened and not funding those accounts or those who do not have RSA, I think we have engaged a lot of recovery agents and the issue is that when we find out, you are not only liable for what you have not remitted, you’re also liable for any interest that may have accrued to that amount.
“So, this is what is done plus all the attendant liabilities. It is work in progress and we see it reducing as we go ahead, but we are also not in belief that there will be a total obliteration becausethe human mind is designed always to do things they think they can get away with.
“Again, we have the compliance and enforcement department working with external recovery agents and more lovingly, the EFCC. They- can get you anywhere now and anytime.”
On the pension profile, she said: “In its 12 years of existence, PenCom has painstakingly built a strong, transparent and dependable pension system in Nigeria, which is overseen by a dynamic and efficient regulatory structure.”