- 177,000 job losers access 25% contributions
James Emejo, Ebere Nwoji and Ugo Aliogo in Calabar
The Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, wednesday disclosed that the total pension assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) has increased to N5.9 trillion as at September 2016 from N5.8 trillion previously announced.
Speaking at the opening of a workshop for finance, insurance and labour correspondents and business editors in Calabar, Cross River State, she said 7.2 million pension contributors had so far been registered under the CPS with 170,000 retirees.
Notwithstanding the successes so far achieved, Anohu-Amazu said the implementation of the Pension Reforms Act (PRA 2004) was bedeviled by inherent challenges which necessitated a review and eventual birth of the Pension Reforms Act (2014) to address previous anomalies.
According to her, the PRA 2014 sought to ensure that more tangible benefits accrued to retirees towards a more befitting retirement.
She said: “Some of the major developments introduced by the new law include an increase in monthly pension contributions to 18 per cent from the previous 15 per cent, in order to ensure that retirement benefits are enhanced under the CPS for the benefit of contributors and reduction in the waiting period for contributors to access their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) in the event of temporary loss of job from six months to four months.
Other key elements in the new act, according to her include stiffer penalties and sanctions for infractions and the establishment of the Pension Transitional Arrangements Directorate (PTAD) to co-ordinate the smooth administration of the old DB Scheme of the public service; among others.
Represented by the Commissioner in charge of the Inspectorate Department, PenCom, Prof Mohammed Kaoje Abubakar, the DG said the enactment of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 was a significant turning point in the quest to bequeath a sustainable and efficient pension system for the country.
She said the key objective was to provide an enduring solution to the protracted challenges associated with pensions in both the public and private sectors.
Meanwhile, it further emerged that a total of 177,000 employees, who temporarily lost their jobs before their retirement age had been able to have access to 25 percent of their retirement savings account (RSA) as stipulated by law.
The commission’s Secretary and Legal Adviser, Mr. Muhammad Sanni Muhammad, who disclosed this also noted that the development pointed to the worrisome rate of job losses the system particularly in the face of economic recession currently plaguing the country.