Total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have reached an all-time high of N3.72 trillion, the acting Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, has said.
This is as total contributors to the scheme also recorded an increase from 5.61 million workers as at June 30, 2013 to 5.82 million.
Anohu-Amazu, who announced this at the commissioning of PenCom South-East Zonal Office in Awka, noted that the commission has remained steadfast in the implementation of the CPS such that within its few years of existence, some modest achievements have been realised, including the consistent payment of the retirement benefits to all employees who retired under the scheme since 2007 without the characteristic bottlenecks experienced in the past.
According to her, the opening of the South-East zonal office was borne out of the commission’s renewed focus on efficient service and reduces the need for contributors and retirees to travel from various parts of the country to Abuja for the singular reason of accessing the commission’s services. “In addition, the presence of the commission will facilitate closer interaction with the states’ pension offices by assisting them to comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme. With the commission’s presence in the South-East Zone, stakeholders in the pension industry can now avail themselves of the services of the commission by visiting the zonal office to make enquiries, lodge complaints, and seek education to the CPS and request for sensitisation and awareness on pension and pension related matters.”
She said the South-East Zonal office in Awka has the mandate to effectively extend the commission’s services to all the five states in the zone namely; Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia.
The acting DG however expressed regret that though the South-East Zone was known to be highly industrious and possessing enterprising intellectuals, it was yet to take its rightful place in the adoption and implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) .
The Acting Director –General disclosed that three states namely: Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu were yet to enact the law on the CPS. Imo State, Anohu – Amazu explained, enacted its law on CPS in 2008 and appointed Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to register its employees but information available to the commission showed that Imo State has suspended the implementation of the scheme. Anambra State, she stated, only recently enacted its law on the Scheme and was still expected to carry out the next necessary steps like setting up administration structure, appointment of PFAs, registration of employees by the PFAs, remittance of pension contributions and determination of accrued pension liabilities of workers among others.
She therefore appealed to the states in the South – East Zone not to be left out of a national success story which is what the contributory pension scheme has become.
She also explained that the Commission was currently exploring the possibility of allowing contributors to utilize part of their Retirement Savings Account balance to part-finance the acquisition of homes, pointing out that these facilities would be availed to states that have fully embraced the scheme. Also speaking, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State thanked the Commission for establishing the South-East Zonal Office in Awka and assured the Commission that the State would follow –up on embracing the scheme soon.