By Victor Ahiuma-Young
RECENTLY, the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, in collaboration with Trustfund Pensions, PLC, held a workshop for some members of NUTGTWN in the informal sector to sensitise them about micro pension scheme that would be launched by the National Pension Commission, PenCom, among other issues concerning the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.
At the sensitisation programme attended by over 300 tailors in Lagos and Ogun states, who are members of Nigeria Union of Tailors’ branch of the NUTGTWN, President of the union, raised the alarm that many of the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, were not accessible to their clients especially workers and retirees.
Welcoming participants, President of NUTGTWN, John Adaji explained that the programme became necessary to get all the members of the union, including those working in the informal sector, into the CPS.
According to him: “It is important to let our members in the tailoring sector know that they have to save for the retirement or raining days. One of the most difficult things to do in life is saving. But everybody has time that he or she would be caught of with time and retire.”
He commended Trustfund Pensions for always carrying along the workers on the new initiatives in the pension scheme, adding that it was also noteworthy that the PFA identified with workers in the informal sector. According to him: “The performances of the PFAs are not the same. What determines the performances is ability and capacity to collect and effect the benefit payment as and when due. It is in that line that we have received several complaints .
That is why I said even if there are issues from our members with Trustfund, we get them corrected almost immediately because Trustfund is accessible to us. But for those other PFAs, we always find it very difficult because one , you cannot access some of them. I do not want to mention names. The representative of the Trustfund Managing Director also said that Trustfund has 43 branches and centres across the country. This means, they are virtually everywhere we have our members. So, they attend to our needs.
“But for others, we receive several complaints and in most cases, we find it very difficult to address these complaints because the PFAs are not very accessible. I have said it earlier that one of the biggest challenges especially in this part of the world, is the ability to save. We find it very difficult.
It is easier under formal conditions because it is deduction at source. But for an individual, self-employed person it is a huge challenge. We believe that when people are enlightened, when people are sensitized, they will adjust to the reality of the time. What we are saying is that whoever you are, it is a matter of time before old age will catch up with you.
So, we know that some of them will understand by the time they key into it and as we progress, some others will join. The only step we can take is what we are doing now . To sensitize them, let them realize the need and key into the scheme.”