• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Atiku warns against fiddling with Nigeria’s pension funds

Policy statement 013 issued by the Independent Media and Policy Initiative (IMPI)

…Says it is a breach of the Pension Reform Act

Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria, has warned the federal government against ” fiddling with the nation’s pension assets” saying that will amount to ” a breach of the Pension Reforms Act”

Atiku while referencing Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy’s disclosures of plans by the Tinubu administration to rev up the pension fund for the development of critical infrastructure, said the ” move must be halted immediately”.

Recall that the Minister while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, disclosed the government will leverage the over N20 million funds and others to boost infrastructure, including housing deficits, through provisions of Mortgage loans at 12%, at 25 years repayment period

But Atiku Abubakar said “There is no free Pension Fund that is more than 5% of the total value of the nation’s pension fund for Mr. Edun to fiddle with.”

“There are no easy ways for Mr. Edun to address the challenges of funding infrastructure development in Nigeria. He can’t cut corners,” he said in a statement he signed.

He, however, advised the Minister to ” introduce the necessary reforms to restore investor confidence in the Nigerian economy and to leverage private resources, skills, and technology”

The former Vice President described the plan as “another attempt to perpetrate illegality by the Federal Government.

” The government must be cautioned to act strictly within the provisions of the Pension Reform Act of 2014 (PRA 2014), along with the revised Regulation on Investment of Pension Assets issued by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

“In particular, the Federal Government must not act contrary to the provisions of the extant Regulation on investment limits to wit: Pension Funds can invest no more than 5% of total pension funds’ assets in infrastructure investments.

He recalled that as of ” December 2023, total pension funds assets were approximately N18 Trillion, of which 75% of these are investments in FGN Securities.”

“There is, according to the Minister, a move by the Federal Government to rev up economic growth by unlocking N20 trillion from the nation’s pension funds and other funds to finance critical infrastructure projects across the country.

“The Minister has indicated that although “the initiative is expected to attract foreign investment interest over time”, domestic savings are his ‘immediate focus’ for now.

“He provided no useful details, such as the percentage of the funds to be mopped up from the Pension Funds, for example.

“Even at that, this move must be halted immediately! It is a misguided initiative that could lead to disastrous consequences on the lives of Nigeria’s hardworking men and women who toiled and saved and who now survive on their pensions having retired from service” he said.