A major effort to make the contributory pension scheme more friendly and accessible to contributors and retirees has commenced with the establishment of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) Zonal Offices across the country.
Rather than going to Abuja to make complaints or to resolve pension issues as has been the case, retires could go to any of the zones closer to him or her and have the same result.
The Zonal offices are now in Gombe, Kano, Ilorin, Awaka and Calabar, and they have been equipped with the reasonable level of human capital and technology that would help retirees and contributors resolve majority of their problems.
Though this has taken some time to come as many had long expected the zonal offices given the poise by the pension regulatory authority to ensure smooth resolution of pension issues, analysts are however happy with the coming and hope it impacts positively on the activities of the scheme.
An official of the Commission, who commented on the development and why the Zonal offices have become necessary, said unless the beneficiaries of the pension scheme are happy the Commission cannot assume to have succeeded fully.
“The happiness of the pension beneficiaries is our success, and that is why we will continue to improve on our customer service, response time and access.”
Let the challenge of the individual retirees be resolved as much as possible and at the shortest possible time, and this will not only increase the confidence level on the system, but enhance the fortunes and size of the industry, the source said.
The pension assets managed by the Pension Fund Administrators has as at December 2012 reached N3 trillion with 5 million contributors, while about 21 States of the federation has complied with the scheme.
The Contributory Pension Scheme which came into being following the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004 has as its objective to ensure that every person who worked in either the Public Service of the Federation, Federal Capital Territory or Private Sector receives his retirement benefits as and when due; assist improvident individuals by ensuring that they save in order to cater for their livelihood during old age and establish a uniform set of rules, regulations and standards for the administration and payments of retirement benefits for the Public Service of the Federation, Federal Capital Territory and the Private Sector.