• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Nigeria’s 20-year pension scheme gets federal lawmakers backing for consolidation of gains

Nigeria’s 20-year pension scheme gets federal lawmakers backing for consolidation of gains

The Nigeria’s 20-years old Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has received the commitment of Federal Lawmakers to strengthen its gains and enhance the welfare of pensioners.

The lawmakers who identified the need for welfare of pensioners as the essence of the reform promised to strengthen its legislation so that what retirees receive in retirement will be enough to make them live comfortably in retirement.

The commitments were received at a two-day retreat organised in Lagos by the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) for some federal Lawmakers, which had in attendance members of the House Committee on Pensions and members of the House Committee on Establishment and Public Service.

Rising from the retreat, PenOp and the lawmakers agreed to work on a number of items including a commitment to tackle the issue of accrued rights, which causes a number of treasury-funded retirees to experience delays in receipt of pensions

Also agreed was a call on the operators to be creative and focused on ensuring that the value of pensions that retirees receive in retirement will be enough to make them live comfortably, especially in the light of rising inflation and devaluation of the local currency.

The two-day retreat saw the pension operators take the lawmakers on various sessions, including areas like “how pension funds are invested, the benefit payment process, the challenges of accrued rights and state pension management.

Fasuyi Oluwole, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service said the retreat was very enlightening for him and other lawmakers and will arm them with information and enable them to understand the scheme more as they go about their law-making activities.

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He urged the pension operators to keep up the engagement with lawmakers as the only way to foster a good working relationship between the parties.

On his part, Hussaini Jallo, the chairman of the House Committee on Pensions, commended the pension operators for taking this step and reiterated that his committee is committed to working for the benefit of pensioners in particular and Nigerians in general.

Joy Ojakovo, vice president of PenOp said the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has brought many benefits to individuals and the nation at large and the industry needs to continue to work with stakeholders to improve the scheme rather than destroy the gains of the system.

“Nigeria’s pension industry has been the fulcrum for a lot development that has happened in the country over the last fifteen years and this fact is not lost on us as pension fund managers. We realize this and we take this responsibility very seriously.”

She said CPS which Nigeria operates is actually a case study for many other countries, stating that Nigeria has been able to transition from a largely unfunded and fraud prone pension system which was in existence prior to 2004 into one that we are all proud of today. “The CPS has delivered a lot of benefit over the years. These benefits include”

Another benefit of CPS she noted is the fact that it has provided the opportunity for the accumulation of long-term capital which serves as an avenue to invest in various sectors of the economy.

Oguche Agudah, chief executive officer, PenOp in his welcome remarks said, this is the 4th year that the industry will be organizing this event for legislators, however, this one is very special to us, because this is the 20th year since the Pension Reform Act was passed.

Oguche said the essence of the Retreat was to enable the lawmakers to see into operations of the pension system and see how we can work together to make the scheme better for the benefit of everyone.

“As you are aware this is the 20th year since the pension reform act was initially into law. In a room just like this, years ago, some people sat down to craft the pension system that we have today. They gave us the system that has helped to build the assets up to N19.6 trillion and more than 10 million contributors today.”

Olumide Lateef, a member of the House of Representative in his contribution said “We have to make sure that issues around pension accrued rights are resolved to ensure success of the scheme”.

What we must fight for at the National Assembly is that when people retire they have access to their pensions, he said.