By Rosemary Iwunze
There are indications that the moves by the National Assembly to create a separate pension regime for its staff may slide into controversy.
A bill to exempt the National Assembly staff from the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, by establishing a National Assembly Pension Board, was passed by the House of Representatives recently.
However, pension industry operators told Vanguard that the “such arrangement would be at cross purposes with the fiscal situation of the country”.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, Managing Director of a Pension Fund Administrator, PFA, noted that the bill was not passed in good faith.
He said: “We are not convinced that this bill was passed in good faith. We also believe that an important bill of this nature should go through the standard and due legislative processes. One of such processes is the convening of a public hearing where all stakeholders that are affected by the bill are invited to discuss and engage.
“All the stakeholders like the workers union, labour, the pension fund operators, the regulators, employers of labour and other critical stakeholders were not engaged in the process. We are also aware that some principal officers of the House who normally should oversee the passage of bills were unavoidably absent, bringing the integrity of the process into question. We are forced to question whose interests this bill is geared to serve.
“It needs to be ascertained, why the bill was passed without the crucial input of citizens and stakeholders? This breach of sacrosanct legislative processes and the rather hurried passage of this bill, triggers serious concerns and should be revisited urgently in the interest of National Assembly staff, the pension industry and the nation in general.
“As a matter of fact, there are a number of proposed amendments to the current pension act that have been proposed within the house for a number of years. So, for this bill to pass quickly, while the others left unattended to speaks to ulterior motives.
“It is pertinent to note that the Federal Government had earlier issued a white paper stating that the Police Force or any other government agency should not leave the Contributory Pension Scheme as the scheme was the Federal Government’s way to have structured and sustainable pensions for its employees. Furthermore, economic analysis and actuarial reports have shown that it would be impractical and irresponsible to move the police or other sectors of the Federal Civil Service from the current Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to a Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) because of the amount of funds this would cost, the fiscal position of the government and the effect it would have on future retirees”.