Workers in Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) Ondo, have been advised to embrace the contributory Pension scheme (CPS) introduced by the Federal Government, in order to enjoy its benefit after retirement.
This advice was given on Tuesday 17 November 2015 by the North Central Zonalofficer of the National Pension Commission (NPC), Mr. Olawale Akinode, at an enlightenment workshop on the Contributory Pension Scheme organized for staff of the institution.
Speaking on the topic entitled: “An overview of the contributory Pension Scheme”, Akinode explained key element of Pension reform in Nigeria; pension Scheme in Post 2004; Objectives and nature of the scheme and efforts being made by the Federal Government at safeguarding it.
He stated that the CPS, which is meant for workers in both Public and private sector is place under the Management of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) and Pension Fund custodians (PFCs) for effective management and transparency. While disclosing the achievements recorded by the NPC since it was introduced in June 2004, Akinode, stated that a total of 6.5million Nigerians have been registered by the commission while the sum of N4.5trillion saved from the scheme.
Allaying fears of future default of workers benefits after retirement against the backdrop of alleged fraudulent act in Pension Fund Management that was sometimes reported in the media, the North Central Zonal office head of NPC, assured that such cases would not occur again as proper arrangement had been made to ensure that the PFAs and PFCs, which would be handling the scheme are assigned with different roles to promote accountability and enhance their efficiency.
According to him, while one of the organisations would take care of fund management, the other will engage in safe keeping of the fund.
Akinode listed the objectives of the Pension reform to include prompt release of workers benefits after retirement, assisting workers to save part of their earnings for retirement, helping in stemming the growth of Pension obligation on government, imposition of fiscal discipline in budgetary process through accurate determination of Pension obligation and enhancement of economic growth through increased savings.
Speaking on the challenges affecting CPS operation in Nigeria, the NPC Senior officials identified them to include inadequate knowledge of its workings by the people, multiple registrations and lack of clear identification of the Retirement Savings Accountholders due to unethical marketing strategies by some Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), delay in remittance of contributions occasioned by non-submission of nominal rolls by Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), Non-submission of updated or incomplete nominal rolls indicating changes in workers grades and level as well as low level of monthly pension to mention a few.
While reiterating the commitment of the NPC to transparency and accountability in the discharge of its duties, Akinode explained that necessary legislation has been enacted to check misappropriation of Pension fund.
According to him, section 99(2) and 100 of the Pension Fund Act specifies 10 years jail term and three times the refund of the amount misappropriated by anyone who contravenes the act.
On efforts being made at encouraging more Nigerian to embrace the scheme, the NPC senior official said the commission plans to undertake activities which include sensitization campaign, organisation of capacity building workshops, investment monitoring of risk issues, implementation of minimum guarantee pension to take care of retirees that might have exhausted their RSA balance with PFAs among others.
He also dropped hint of plan by the commission to undertake reconciliation of employees record with the PFAs, PENCOM and Pension offices, in order to promote and enhance accuracy.
Others include encouragement of informal sector participation and securing full participation of states that is yet to embrace the scheme in the country.
The programme held at the Babatunde Ipaye lecture theatre which featured question and answer session had in attendance some officials of the NPC including Mr. Abdulhamid Abdulhakim and Mr. Umar Abubakar.
Also present were some senior officials of the College including the Deputy Bursar, Mrs. Tawo Adedoyin; Deputy Registrar, Division of Pension and Staff Welfare, Mrs. Fisayo Fakorede as well other senior and junior staff from various departments and units in the institution.