September 18, 2023

Pension contributors, retirees agitate as unresolved complaints pile up

The Nigerian Pension Industry – A journey with definite destination (2)

Stakeholders call for speedy resolution of complaints

Govt must first think of the workers – Pensioners’ union

PenCom should be empowered for better results – NLC

Our new strategic plan prioritizes quality of services – PenCom

By Rosemary Iwunze

As the pension assets continue to rise hitting N17.1 trillion in July, more pension contributors and retirees are getting increasingly agitated with the rising volume of unresolved complaints in the sector.

Some of the contributors and retirees who spoke to  Financial Vanguard  lamented that their complaints are either delayed for a long time or are not responded to at all, creating the impression that the National Pension Commission, PenCom, could be overwhelmed by the volume of complaints that hit the commission on regular basis.

Stakeholders argue that this development may be part of the reasons why some groups and institutions are working hard to exit the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, and return to the old scheme.

Meanwhile,  Financial Vanguard  findings from PenCom’s data show that out of the 59 complaints were sent to PenCom relating to non-remittance of pension contributions in the first quarter of 2023, Q1’23, only nine were resolved, an indication that 84.7 per cent of the complaints remained unresolved during the period.

In Q4’22, 82 complaints were recorded with only seven resolved, an indication that 91.5 per cent of the complaints were unresolved within the period.

In Q3’22, eight complaints were sent to PenCom, only one complaint was resolved within the period, while in Q2’22, 89 complaints were sent to PenCom with only eight resolved, indicating that 91 per cent complaints were unresolved as at then.

Although PenCom only releases data on complaints relating to non remittance of pension contributions, the commission stated that various other complaints are received on daily basis, bordering on non-payment/delays in the receipt of accrued pension rights for retirees of Treasury Funded Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs); requests for resolution of multiple PIN registration; delays in approval of transfers to Retiree Life Annuity (RLA); delay in approval of programmed withdrawal, temporary access 25%, residential mortgage, voluntary contributions and NSITF; delays in data-recapture; and RSA transfer related complaints.

Speaking on the situation, Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners Contributory Pension Scheme (NUPCPS), Comrade Bisan Olufemi John, said that the pension arrangement by the government was still far from being favourable to contributors and retirees as so many issues remain unresolved.

According to John, the most urgent thing for the government is to improve on customer service as well as welfare of pensioners and workers.

John said: “There is no way the government can successfully tackle the myriads of economic challenges without adequately satisfying the yearnings of both pensioners and those workers currently in service. The Federal Government has been struggling with getting the economy to work, but one thing that is clear is that the people are the ones that will contribute mainly to make such a reality come to be.

“The government must first think of the workers, improve on their welfare so they can then contribute their quota adequately to the economy. It should be the people before the economy.”

Also speaking, another pension contributor, Mr. Malachy Eze, stated that the slow response of the pension industry in resolving complaints is having a negative impact on the pension scheme.

Eze said: “Government has failed in many instances to pay group life insurance claims to next-of-kin of deceased civil servants.    Scenarios like this should never arise, rather government must provide better opportunities for workers and pensioners to be happy.

“Retirees’ welfare should not just end at the level of being paid their stipends.”

Also speaking, a NUPCPS member, Comrade Olagbayo Johnson, said it is unfortunate that the CPS appears to be failing.

Johnson stated: “The failure of the Defined Benefit Scheme, which was government funded, compelled the Federal Government to visit Chile to do a check on how the contributory scheme works.

“Unfortunately, since Nigeria