By Victor Ahiuma-Young

Contributors to the Contributory Pensions Scheme, CPS, following the Pension Reform Act, PRA, 2014 as amended, has hit 9.3 million.

This came as the National Pensions Commission, PenCom, assured stakeholders of seamless delivery of services to them especially retirees and prospective retirees.

Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, made the disclosures at a keynote address at the 2021 workshop organised by PenCom for journalists in Lagos.

Represented by the Commission’s head, Corporate Communications, Mr Peter Aghahowa, said: “The number of registered contributors under the CPS has grown to 9.38 million while pension fund assets have accumulated to N12.66 trillion as at 30 June 2021.

According to the D-G, “President Muhammadu Buhari had recently approved the Commission’s submission on the payment of some outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government, under the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.

The Presidential approval covered the payment of outstanding accrued pension rights for verified and enrolled retirees of treasury-funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies,  MDAs that are yet to be paid their retirement benefits, as well as the backlog of death benefits claims due to beneficiaries of deceased employees of treasury-funded MDAs.

2.5 per cent diffrential “Furthermore, the President also approved the payment of 2.5 per cent differential in the rate of employer pension contribution for FG retirees and employees, which resulted from the increase in the minimum pension contribution for employers from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent, in line with Section 4(1) of the Pension Reform Act, PRA, 2014.

These payments would undoubtedly boost the RSA balances of the beneficiaries towards better retirement benefits.

The settlement of these outstanding accrued pension rights of verified and enrolled FG retirees would result in reversing a major challenge that has lingered since 2014.

Also, the commencement of payment of the reviewed monthly pension contribution rate by the Federal Government is another significant step in ensuring compliance with the PRA 2014.

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“The most recent technological innovation introduced by the Commission is the in-house designed and developed online Enrolment Application, which has capabilities to register, verify and enroll prospective retirees of Treasury-Funded Federal MDAs.

By the deployment of this new application, mass gathering of people has been avoided while enhancing convenience for the prospective retirees through a seamless enrolment process. Another notable technological innovation by the Commission was the design and deployment of the Retirement Savings Account, RSA, Transfer System, RTS, which was launched in November 2020.

The RTS is a Computer Application developed by the Commission, through which RSA holders transfer their RSAs from one Pension Fund Administrator, PFA, to another.

Indeed, the activation of the RSA transfer provision, which deepens individual choices, is a major milestone in the implementation of the CPS.

Knowledge gap

“Furthermore, it is pertinent to reassure stakeholders that the implementation of the CPS remains on course.

“The number of registered contributors under the CPS has grown to 9.38 million while pension fund assets have accumulated to N12.66 trillion as at 30 June 2021.

“The maintenance of a consistent growth trajectory continues to justify the Commission’s overriding investment philosophy of ensuring the safety of pension fund assets.”

According to her, the workshop would entail “a presentation on the Commission’s Strategic Focus Areas.

These comprise areas of emphasis that are pursued vigorously towards the attainment of the Commission’s objectives.

Public Enlightenment and education is one of the five Strategic Focus Areas currently pursued by the Commission.

This is considered germane considering that 17 years after the pension reform in Nigeria, there still exists a knowledge gap on the CPS.

Consequently, the Commission is committed to reinvigorating its public enlightenment and education drive in order to address this challenge. 

Customer service

“Other Strategic Focus Areas include the resolution of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government; portfolio diversification of pension fund investments, improvement in customer service delivery across the pension industry and unrelenting pursuit of sustainable growth of the pension industry by expanding coverage of the CPS.

“The second presentation at this workshop titled: Understanding the RSA Transfer Process, provides insight into the features of the RSA Transfer System, RTS, which enables the seamless transfer of RSAs from one PFA to another.

“The third presentation is on the online Enrolment Application for verification and enrolment of prospective retirees of Treasury-Funded MDAs.”

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