The National Pension Commission (PENCOM) said yesterday that pension contributions under the Contributory Pension Scheme has risen to about N5 trillion.
Director General of the Commission, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu who stated this at the 10th anniversary lecture of Trust Fund Pension Plc in Abuja, added that there are plans by the commission to extend the contributory Pension scheme to the informal sector of the economy.
Represented by the Commissioner in charge of Inspectorate at the Commission, Prof. Mohammed Kaoje Abubakar, the Director General said the sustainability of the Contributory Pension scheme is very important, pointing out that the commission wants to free the scheme of the problems of defined benefit scheme which it replaced.
She said to ensure sustainability, the scheme must provide improved service delivery so that there can be internal efficiency, while the Pension Fund Administrators and the regulators must be open in their dealings.
She also said there are plans to ensure that contributors can migrate from one PFA to the other if one is not performing to their expectations, stressing that there must however be strict compliance to service standard.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba lamented that 10 years after the introduction of the Contributory Pension Scheme as part of Pension Reform in the country, only ten states are fully participating in the scheme.
Wabba who was represented by Deputy President of Congress, Peters Adeyemi, however want issues of pensions taken away from the states and local government, while advocating that the contributory pension scheme be extended to states and local government areas.
He said: “Though the 2014 amendment to the Pension Reform Act ratified the omission in the 2004 Act, the fact that only 10 states out of 36 states have completed the process of legislation and full contributory schemes are in place as at the last quarter of 2015, shows the effect of the non-inclusion of states in the reforms,
“The current fate of states civil servant who are being owed several months of pension arrears, some up to 12 months and more, underscores the urgent necessity to bring this category of public servants on board the scheme.
“While the 2014 amendment Act addressed a number of areas of challenge to the success of pension reforms in the country, such challenge like knowledge gap and misinformation regarding the operations of the pensions scheme and the implementation of the contributory pension scheme still persist, 10 years into its operations.
“The perception about a pension scheme that is riddled with fraudulent practice is still very rife in public consciousness”.
He noted that the perception is not helped with the report about pension scams running into several billions.
He said the congress was in the process of establishing a pension desk at the headquarters and again the various industrial unions to work with Trust Fund a Pension and PenCom and as well as expand the scope of work and understanding on pension related matters.