L-R: Mr Abisola Onigbogi (ED Technical, ARM Pension Managers), Mr Tunde Phillips (Head, States Operations Department, PenCom), Mr Peter Aghahowa (Head, Corporate Communications Department, PenCom), Mrs Carol Alex-Uzomah (AGM, Corporate Communications Department, PenCom), Mr Kunle Odebiyi (Head, Micro Pensions Department, PenCom), Mrs Eniola Adebulehin (SM, National Databank Management Department, PenCom), Mr Sola Adeseun (Acting Head, South-West Zonal Office, PenCom) Mr Elochukwu Nwankwo (Legal Department, PenCom)
BY NKECHI NAECHE ESEZOBOR––The National Pension Commission ( PenCom) has said that only 25 States have enacted laws on CPS.
The commission stated this yesterday at the 2019 PenCom journalists workshop in Benin City, Edo State, that only nine States have begun implementation and remitting both employer and employee pension Contributions.
Speaking at the event Head, States Operation Department, PenCom, Mr. Babatunde Phillips, said that compliant states are; Kaduna, Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Lagos, Ondo, Edo, Osun, Anambra, Ekiti and Delta States.
He added that nine states, five of them are funding accrued rights.
He said, Kaduna, the FCT, Osun, Delta, Anambra and Lagos States are funding acrrued rights while Edo, Ondo and Ekiti States are only implementing and remitting.
He stated further that, of the 25 states which have existing CPS laws, 13 of them had instituted pension bureaux or boards.
Philips noted that five states have employees retiring under the CPS and drawing pensions, adding that, four States have enacted laws on the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS).
Seven states, comprising of; Kwara, Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Plateau and Katsina, he said, are still at the bill stage while Kano, Jigawa, Yobe, Gombe and Zamfara States are operating other pension schemes.
Earlier, the Acting Director-General, National Pension Commission (PenCom) Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, disclosed that the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has grown to 8.85 million as at the end of September, 2019.
Mrs. Dahir-Umar, who was represent by Head, Micro Pension Plan Department,Kunle Odebiyi, maintained that the pension fund assets grown to N9.58 trillion.
According to her, Kaduna State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and seven other states are now fully remitting the pension contributions of both the employees and employers’ portion.
She said the industry had recorded a 1.78 per cent growth in the scheme membership during the second quarter of 2019, from 8.63 million contributors at the end of the first quarter, that is, March 2019, to 8.79 million in June 2019.
She attributed the consistent growth in pension scheme subscribers to increased awareness on the advantages and enforcement of the new pension scheme by the pension industry regulator, that is, the National Pension Commission(PenCom) and pension fund operators.
She also disclosed that pension assets at end of third quarter (Q3) stood at N9.58 trillion.
She also attributed to the commission emphasis on the safety of pension funds as the bedrock of sustaining the CPS, assuring all stakeholders that the pension reform remains steadily on course. “These modest milestones notwithstanding, the Commission and Pension Operators are committed to actualizing the growth potentials of the pension industry.”
Speaking on the theme of the workshop, which was, ‘Expanding Coverage of the Pension Industry’, she said, the Commission’s current strategic focus, is aimed at expanding access to pension as a veritable tool for economic development.
“This aligns with the pension reform objective of old age poverty reduction and improvement in the welfare and general standard of living. The quest to expand coverage of pension is being pursued through some transformational initiatives especially the Micro Pension Plan.”
She said the micro pension plan, is targeted at the informal sector and self-employed who are not mandatorily covered under the CPS, noting that, it was designed with significant flexibility in recognition of the peculiarities of the targeted population.
She stated that the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS) is an in-house developed ICT application which was deployed in June 2019 to enhance the integrity of the contributors’ database.
“It has also been integrated with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) database to help authenticate the uniqueness of individuals seeking to register under the CPS. The ECRS provides a platform for the registration of Micro Pension Plan Participants and is a major step towards the introduction of the transfer window, which will enable contributors change to the PFAs of their choice, in line with Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.”