Since the inception of the new pension scheme in 2004 and now, no fewer than 1.27 million retirees have drawn N2.72trillion as pension benefits from the N17.6trillion pension fund assets in the country, LEADERSHIP learnt.
The new pension scheme known as Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS) came into existence with a deficit of N2trillion pension assets which have now grown to N17.6trillion.
Speaking at the 2023 Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) media parley in Lagos, on Friday, the director general, National Pension Commission(PenCom), Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, disclosed that, about 1,183 Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders have so far accessed N13 billion as pension mortgage finance and that 17,376 retirement savings account holders have transferred N356 billion from one Pension Fund Administrator(PFA) to another under the RSA transfer system.
Dahir-Umar, who was represented by the Head of Surveillance Department PenCom, Ehimeme Ohioma, noted that, about N12 billion contributions from employees of defunct organisation, especially, banks are unremitted to their owners who are unknown to PenCom and PFAs, disclosing that, PenCom had advertised for workers in such defunct organisations to come forward with evidence to enable the PFAs transfer the funds to their RSAs.
However , she said, only N58 million of the fund has been accessed while calling on those concerned to check for their names on the list published on PenCom’s website.
PenCom, he disclosed, is currently putting finishing touches on foreign currency denominated investments guidelines that would enable PFAs earn real return on investment.
Meanwhile, the chief executive officer(CEO), Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria(PenOp), Oguche Agudah, said the annual training was organised to keep journalists abreast of strides recorded so far in the pension industry in the last 20 years and to also interact with them on how to improve service delivery in the sector.
Promising that the industry in year 2024 would experience great transformations going by innovations being worked on by PenCom and operators, he assured Nigerians, especially, the RSA holders that there pension savings are adequately safe and protected.
Earlier, the president of PenOp, Olumide Oyetan said the CPS remains one of the greatest national policy and dividend of democracy that the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo gave the country, stating that, before commencement of the CPS, retirees were subjected to old age poverty as they were unable to get their pension at retirement.
Oyetan, who is also the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited,
stated that, the CPS is unique due to the safe valves, checks and balances ensured by the tripod structure of: the regulator, PFAs and Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs).
He called on the government and public to sustain their faith on the CPS which for the past 19 years has continued to thrive without any incident of fraud.
Pension operators, he said, would continue to innovate and comply with stipulated rules in offering quality services to contributors and retirees.
The pension assets have been growing, despite the non-challahs attitude of some state governments toward honouring pension obligations of their workers.
Investment income, according to LEADERSHIP investigation, was instrumental to the continuous growth in pension fund, despite the fact that some governments at majorly, State level are not paying the monthly pension contributions of their workers as and when due.
Similarly, the huge increase, according to findings, was attributed to new pension contributions received, interest from fixed income securities and net realised on equities and mutual fund investments.
Earlier, director general, National Pension Commission(PenCom), Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, had said, the growth in the pension fund assets under the new pension scheme, is an indication of prudent and sincere management of the pension fund by the pension operators and the regulator.
According to her, “the maintenance of a consistent growth trajectory continues to justify the Commission’s overriding investment philosophy of ensuring the safety of pension fund assets.”
Read More: Retirees Draw N2.72trn As Pension Benefits In 19 Years