PenCom To Review Pension Act 2014
National Pension Commission (PenCom) is set to review the Pension Reform Act 2014.
At its retreat in Abuja, it identified salient issues to be reviewed in the act.
Present were stakeholders from the National Assembly, Pension Fund Operators (PenOp), labour unions, employers’ union, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and others.
In a statement, the commission said the National Assembly would organise a public hearing to enable stakeholders their make input.
The Pension Reform Act 2014 was enacted following a review of the one in 2004.
Director-General of PenCom Aisha Dahir-Umar told participants that the 2014 Act codified one of the most important socio-economic initiatives of the Federal Government, leading to an industry that had assets in excess of N13 trillion.
She noted that the review followed some implementation challenges encountered with certain sections.
“This is in addition to persistent calls from stakeholders for the amendment of some sections… which resulted in several legislative initiatives through sponsorship of bills for amendment of the PRA 2014 by the National Assembly.
“Consequently, the commission…decided to coordinate and harmonise the various efforts to achieve a more comprehensive and constructive exercise for the review of the PRA 2014”, she added.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Ibrahim Shekarau said the 2004 Act was reviewed in 2014 having been implemented for 10 years.
Shekarau said the National Assembly and PenCom were being proactive by initiating the second review less than 10 years since the first review in response to the dynamism of the industry.
He said all laws are never perfect and in the case of PRA, between 2014 and now, several developments have necessitated a review of the legislation. Furthermore, he stated that since his assumption of duty in the Senate, saddled with responsibility for pension matters, he has received several submissions from stakeholders requesting for a review of some sections of the PRA 2014.
He noted that not all the agitations for the review of the PRA 2014 are backed by sound arguments, but they show a need for a review of the pension legislation.
Also speaking at the retreat, the Chairman House Committee on Pension, Hon. Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, stated that attempts were made to review some provisions of the PRA 2014 by the 8th National Assembly, but the process was not concluded owing to some issues.
He therefore expressed the commitment of the Committee in ensuring a diligent review of the PRA 2014 as the retreat provided a valuable input into the process.
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, cautioned against policies that will undermine the CPS, including agitations to exempt some employees from the scheme as it may defeat the primary purpose of the CPS.
The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Quadri Olaleye, represented by an executive member of the TUC, Hafsat Shuaibu, cited the disruptions in the workplace as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, which makes it imperative to review the pension legislation.
On his part, the representative of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Thompson Akpabio, commended PenCom for the consultative retreat and expressed optimism that the outcome would improve the CPS.
He said the review was apt, as since 2014, there have been several cases on pension matters decided in various courts and that the implications of these decisions should be considered during the review of the PRA 2014.
The prevailing iniquitous contributory Pension system in Nigeria was copied from Chile and the President elect of Chile Gabriel Boric has promised to dismantle the CPS managed by private pension fund managers.
Since 2013 workers and retirees in Chile have been protesting against the CPS managed by pension fund managers which obviously benefits owners of pension companies.
Many countries that previously embraced CPS managed by pension fund managers have reverted back to public management, Nigeria should do same if the CPS is really meant to serve the interest of workers and retirees in Nigeria.
The CPS can be publicly administered instead of private pension managers who are only feasting on the contributions of workers and retirees.
Will Nigeria adopt the guidelines that ILO has clearly laid out for countries willing to revert their privately managed pension system back to public management?
The only reason why the CPS managed by private pension managers still exist in Nigeria is because our central labour leaders are benefiting from this privatized pension system.
The NLC and TUC are major share holders in a Pension fund company and their company and other pension fund companies in Nigeria are making huge profits without a corresponding growth on the retirement saving accounts of contributor’s, a large chunk of the profits these companies make end up in their pockets.
If our central labour leaders are not benefiting from this privatized pension system,then they should be on the same page with their colleagues in Chile who have openly rejected the CPS managed by pension fund managers.