PenCom: Informal Workers Seek Govt Part-contribution into Pension Scheme

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Jonathan Eze

Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON) has insisted that it would be unfair and unacceptable if government refuses to be part contributor into the micro-Pension scheme for them as in the case of formal workers in the Contributory Pension Scheme.

At a sensitisation workshop organised by Trustfund Pensions Plc in Lagos recently, its General Secretary, Gbenga Komolafe, argued that the aim of the introduction of Micro-Pension scheme into the nation’s pension system following the Pension Reform Act (as amended) would be defeated if they are left to bear full contribution into the scheme.

He lamented that nobody cares for the informal sector workers in terms of how they learn their trade, how they work, and their medical needs and when they are involved in accidents, they are left to their fate.

Komolafe recalled that in 2013, FIWON led informal workers to the National Assembly on a protest and they presented a bill on the welfare of its members which was supported by Senator Ahmed Markafi, lamenting that Markafi did not return to the senate in the subsequent election.

“We are not happy as informal sector workers, that government is not part funding of the informal workers in the micro-pension scheme. We did a letter to the government. But when President Muhammadu Buhari came in, the government did not listen.

The body added that it examined critically all the pension funds administrators and decided to use TrustFund for its members for three different reasons.

“We have looked at and examined all the PFAs critically because we have to be careful that at the end when we need our money, they will not tell us story. We decided to choose Trustfund Pensions because of three reasons.

“One, because government through NSITF is a part owner of the PFA. Therefore, there is government guarantee. Secondly, Organised Labour through the NLC and TUC is also part of the owners, meaning they can protect our contributions. And thirdly, the employers through NECA are also part owners. We aware that Trustfund Pensions is one of the most capitalized PFAs out of about 21 registered PFAs. We are confident that our fund will be safe with Trustfund Pensions, our interest will be guaranteed.”

Speaking, Trustfund Pensions Regional Manager, Lagos, Zonal office, Obiora Ozoekwem, recalled what led to the Pension Reform Act, the Contributory pension scheme and then the micro pension scheme, urging the informal sector to save for their upkeep in the future now that they are still very active.

He informed them that only between 25 and 30 per cent of workers are covered by the CPS, saying the rest are outside the scheme. “Now that the micro pension scheme is here, you have to take advantage of it to save for your old age”, he said.

While corroborating Mr. Komolafe about the ownership structure and that government, Labour, NECA among others are on the board of the management of Trustfund pensions, he assured them that with Trustfund pensions, their funds are safe.