By Victor Ahiuma-Young& Monsuru Olowoopejo
NATIONAL Pension Com-mission, PenCom, has decried perceived apathy of employees who contributed funds into the defunct Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF towards transferring same into their respective Retirement Savings Account, RSAs.
The commission lamented that only 136,377 NSITF members have applied for their contributions to be transferred into their RSAs, saying this is a far cry from the over 1.2 million workers that transited from the NSITF Scheme to the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.
At an interactive forum with members of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, Acting Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, pleaded with employers among others, to encourage their employees who have contributed to the NSITF Scheme to liaise with the PFAs and in particular, Trustfund Pensions for guidance on how to get their contributions transferred to their RSAs.
Represented by Mr. S M Bwala, Head of Compliance, PenCom, Dahir-Umar recalled that following the enactment of the PRA 2014, the Commission was saddled with the responsibility of supervising the transfer of the NSITF contributions of employees into their respective RSAs under the CPS.
She said: “To date, only 136, 377 NSITF members have applied for their contributions to be transferred into their RSAs. That number is a far cry from the over 1.2 million workers that transited from the NSITF Scheme to the CPS. To address the challenge of contributor apathy, the Commission had several times featured advertorials in National Dailies requesting NSITF contributors to apply for the transfer of their contributions into their RSAs.
I wish to implore all employers to encourage their employees who have contributed to the NSITF Scheme to liaise with the PFAs and in particular, Trustfund Pensions for guidance on how to get their contributions transferred to their RSAs. Members who contributed to the NSITF Scheme can also visit the Commission’s website for the guidelines on the transfer of NSITF contributions.”
In another development, PenCom has informed that the Micro Pension Scheme, MPS, will kick off in the first quarter of 2019.
The Acting DG, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, revealed this at the sixth conference organised for pension directors by the commission in Lagos, disclosing that the scheme was delayed due to hitches encountered in Information and Communication Technology, ICT.
She assured that the hitches would be sorted out latest by the end of September for the scheme to kick off fully in the first quarter of 2019.
“The commission believes that the scheme will be part of the efforts towards ensuring the long-term and sustainability of the Federal Government’s social empowerment programme,” she said.
According to her, the guidelines for the scheme had been approved by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.
On the pension scheme challenges, the Acting DG said there was increased clamour by pension contributors to redirect their retirement savings.
She explained that the clamour was redirection of the N8.5 trillion pension assets towards the resolution of other social problems such as health, unemployment and other similar challenges.
Dahir-Umar said that 2017 was particularly difficult for the industry as the commission had to contend with several bills before the National Assembly seeking to distort or dismantle the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“Our social partners played a critical role in that struggle, which we successfully surmounted. However, one of the important lessons learnt from that experience is the imperative of continuous stakeholders’ collaboration and engagement. The commission, therefore, believes that directors of operator companies must appreciate the critical importance of stakeholders’ collaboration and the need to give it the attention it deserves,” she said.