Nigeria’s N5.3trn Pensions Fund Not Idle – Anohu-Amazu

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The country’s pension fund currently standing at N5.3 trillion is consistently invested by Pension Fund Administrators (PFA’s) strictly as prescribed by the law.

The money is also not domiciled at the National Pension Commission (PenCom’s) account but at Pension Fund Custodians (PFC) as approved by the Pensions Act.

These clarifications were made in Lagos by the director general of PenCom, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu at an interactive session with the media.

She regretted the misleading information by some persons concerning the position and status of the fund.

Anohu-Amazu said the PFAs’ have played by the rule and that no fraud with respect to management of the fund has been recorded.

The fund is ring-fenced and there is no way it could be mismanaged or misappropriated in any guise.

“We play by the rule and any PFA that invests outside the guideline will lose its operating license” she said.

She also said that effort is being made to bring into the scheme more Nigerians through the Micro Pension Scheme now in the offing.

Already, the agency has established a special function unit to drive the micro pension plan, the scheme which targets the low income earners as well as individuals.

The commission has already commenced the sensitisation of service providers as well as the targeted workers in the informal sector with a view of creating the enabling environment to bring more people into the scheme.

Anohu-Amazu noted that it would ensure that robust technological platform is put in place to drive the initiative, adding that special mobile phone applications that had been successfully implemented in some jurisdictions for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers could be adopted to prop the plan.

“It is evident that a robust technological platform that would support the provision of customer services is necessary to effectively and efficiently register, collect contributions, provide Retirement Savings Account support, pay benefits and provide financial advisory services to this class of workers.

“Coincidently, special mobile phone applications had been successfully implemented in some jurisdictions for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers. The success stories of these applications drives the confidence that similar platform can be designed and implemented in Nigeria,” she said.

She attributed the growth in the funds to the security fence built to protect it from being diverted into personal use by managers of the funds.

She affirmed that the commission has never and will never prevent investing of pension assets into infrastructural development and other sectors, but that such investments must abide by the investment guidelines in the Pension Reform Act 2014.

She said the agency will not deny anyone from accessing pension funds for investment, but the guideline must be strictly followed, and majority of those complaining of such denial have not complied with investment guidelines.

Noting that the pension assets is a contribution of workers who have decided to save parts of their salaries as pension in a bid to enjoy these savings after retirement, the PenCom DG said such persons should not be denied their pension benefits when they demand for it, hence, the need to protect the growing pension assets.

While advising the subscribers to the Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS) to remain calm, she said the pension funds is well secured, adding that since inception, the funds is yet to record any form of embezzlement or financial mismanagement from the managers of the assets.

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