The National Pension Commission (PenCom) continued its engagement with various stakeholders in furtherance of its public enlightenment initiatives. In line with this, PenCom organized a sensitization conference for civil society groups (CSGs), which was held in Abuja 30th September, 2021.
The conference, which aimed to create awareness on the contributory Pension scheme (CPS), was attended by members of various Civic Society Groups in the country. The theme of the conference ”Maximizing the benefits of the Contributory Pension Scheme” was considered appropriate in the light of opportunities for the CSOs to also participate in the CPS in other to secure the livelihoods of their members at old age.
In her welcome remarks at the Conference, the Director General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar noted that the Conference was an opportunity for PenCom to enlighten the Civil Society Groups on the tenets of the CPS, while recognizing their role as advocates and champions of civil rights, social responsibility and good governance. She stated further that in addition to creating awareness and deepening the understanding of members of the Civil Society Groups on the CPS, the conference should elicit their participation in the CPS through the Micro Pension Plan arrangement.
While describing recent developments in the pension industry, the PenCom Director General noted the recent approval by President Muhammadu Buhari on the payment of some outstanding pension liabilities. The approval included payment of outstanding accrued pension rights to verified and enrolled retirees of Treasury-Funded Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that were yet to be paid their retirement benefits, as well as the back log of death benefits claims due to beneficiaries of deceased employees of treasury funded MDAs.
In addition, The President also approved the payment of 2.5 percent differential in the rate of employer pension contribution for FGN retirees and employees, which resulted from the increase in the minimum pension contribution for employers from 7.5 percent to 10 percent, in line with section 4(1) of the pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014. The Director General confirmed that these payments have already been made, in line with the Presidential approval.
While providing updates on recent technological attainments by PenCom necessitated by the COVID 19 pandemic, the Director General informed the participants of the recent development of online Enrolment Application, which has capabilities to register, verify and enrol prospective retirees of treasury funded MDAs.
The deployment of the new Application has effectively eliminated the need for a mass gathering of people while enhancing convenience for the prospective retirees through a seamless enrolment process. The Director General also reassured stakeholders that the implementation of the CPS remains on course as indicated by some key performance indicators.
The number of registered contributors under the CPS has grown to 9.41 million while pension fund assets have accumulated to N12.78 trillion as at 31 July 2021. During the conference, there were presentations on an overview of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and recent developments in the Pension industry.
There was also a presentation on The Micro Pension Scheme: A Panacea for secured Old Age in the Informal Sector. The participants expressed delight at the enlightenment on the workings of the CPS and sought further clarifications on some issues.
Speaking on behalf of participants, the Presidents of Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria (CCSN), Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) and Citizen’s Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI)I: Comrade Adams Otakwu, Comrade Dominic Ogakwu and Comrade Kenneth Omoba Aigbegbele, respectively, appreciated PenCom for the awareness and knowledge created on CPS at the conference, while appealing for more sensitization and awareness to bridge the knowledge gap about the CPS.
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