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Business News of Friday, 8 January 2021

Source: Punch

9,146,975 workers now have pension accounts - PenCom

A total of 9,146,975 workers had Retirement Savings Accounts as of the end of September 2020.

Figures obtained from the National Pension Commission on Thursday disclosed that this was a slight improvement from 9,103,653 workers with pension accounts as of August 2020.

The commission also noted that total pension assets stood at N11.57tn during the period under review.

The Director, Centre For Pension Rights Advocacy, Ivor Takor, urged state and local governments to comply fully with the regulations in the Contributory Pension Scheme.

He said that many workers who were retiring in non-compliant states may not enjoy sweet retirement.

The director said this in a report titled ‘The lacuna in the Pension Reform Act 2004 that left employees of states and local governments without pension laws’ which was obtained on Thursday.

Takor said, “The adage that ‘rest is sweet after labour’ may after all not hold for employees of most states and local governments in the country.

“The adage holds sway only for employees who have got their rest planned for them by their employers during the period of their labour.

“Unfortunately for employees of most states and local governments, this type of planning is alien to the managers of their states affairs.”

The Contributory Pension Scheme unlike the old Defined Benefit Scheme it replaced, he explained, had inbuilt safeguards meant to protect the fund from mismanagement and fraudulent practices.

He said the scheme was fully funded through monthly contributions, which were put into Retirement Saving Accounts owned by employees.

The director said, “Employers cannot access the funds.

“The funds are warehoused by Pension Fund Custodians and managed by Pension Fund Administrators.

“The law established the National Pension Commission, among other objectives, to regulate, supervise and ensure the effective administration of pension matters and retirement benefits in Nigeria.”

He worried that most states were yet to comply with the law that would help to give their workers good retirement plans.

PenCom also disclosed in its third-quarter report on the issuance of pension clearance certificates that 5,432 employers were cleared for having a pension and insurance covers for their workers in the third quarter of 2020.

It said, “During the quarter under review, 5,700 private sector organisations applied for issuance of pension clearance certificates.

“Out of this number, 5,432 organisations were issued certificates while the remaining 268 applications were declined for not meeting the stipulated requirements.

“A total sum of N24.98bn was remitted into the Retirement Savings Accounts of 76,498 employees by the 5,432 organisations that were issued with the PCCs.”

PenCom disclosed that 104,736 participants enrolled in the Contributory Pension Scheme within Q3 2020, out of which 38,235 or 36.5 per cent were between 30 and 39 years.

Further analysis also showed that 37,126 or 35.4 per cent were below 30 years of age.

These statistics pointed to the increasing evidence of the sustainability of the CPS, as the younger generation were actively being enlisted into the scheme, it stated.

On the gender distribution, 64 per cent of the total 104,736 that registered during the quarter were males, sustaining dominance over the female gender.

The commission said during the quarter under review, it generated 2,781 employer codes for private sector organisations, accounting for 98 per cent, while employer codes generated for non-governmental organisations, unions/associations and MDAs under the federal and state governments numbered 48 or two per cent of the total.

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