Micro Pension: PenCom, CPS Operators Differ on Micro Pension Performance, Identify Sensitisation as Key to Success

Ebere Nwoji

With N13 trillion total pension assets accumulated in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) since its creation, and 70,000 contributors so far registered into the micro pension scheme two years, both National Pension Commission(PenCom) and Pension Fund Operators seem to differ in their views on the performance of the micro pension scheme.

But both believe that the scheme could do far much better than its present performance with Consolidated awareness and publicity as well as sensitisation of the general public.

Before the official launch of the micro pension scheme in March 2019, the National Pension Commission had expressed hope that the scheme would triple the volume of pension assets during the period which was over N8trillion it therefore released guidelines that will guide the micro pension operations.

Two years down the line, the commission has expressed its dissatisfaction with the slow pace of Growth of the micro pension scheme challenging the Pension Fund Operators to up their game in sensitising the public on the relevance of the scheme.

But contrary to the commission’s expectation on rapid growth of the scheme, the Managing Director, Leadway Pensure, Ronke Adedeji believe none of the pension fund operators expected the micro pension scheme to grow as fast as the contributory pension scheme.
According to her, the Pension Fund Operators knew from the onset that the micro pension scheme would grow in trickles, and then grow gradually.

She said this was because unlike the contributory Pension scheme proper, the target contributors into the micro pension scheme were quite different from those of the CPS.
She said the target market for micro pension scheme needed a lot of sensitisation and teaching to understand the value of the scheme unlike those of the CPS that were mandated by law to contribute.

She said during the early days of CPS scheme, money was flowing in easily unlike the early days of micro pension scheme when people were not keen to listen to the operators because they prefered to hold their money tight.

But in a recent Framework for Enlightenment and Public Awareness’ for the Micro Pension Plan sent to all PFAs. PenCom Director General, Aisha Dahiru Urmar was disgusted that two years after the launch of the Contributory Pension Scheme, only 70,000 contributors have keyed into the scheme.

She cited Section 2.2 of the Circular on Service Delivery by PFAs, lamenting that two years after the launch of the plan in the country, only 70,000 contributors have been recorded out of over 200 million population.

PenCom, identified the need to intensify public enlightenment in a sustained manner to raise the level of awareness and acceptability of the Micro Pension Scheme as a critical success factor, adding that the framework spelt out the modalities for the commission and PFAs to ensure an effective and sustained public awareness drive of the scheme.

Adedeji, had while addressing the media on the micro pension scheme at the quarterly press briefing organised by the Pension Fund Operators in Lagos, said the scheme was extremely important to Nigerians, adding that pension generally was meant to provide for financial stability of people at their old age.

She said though pension fund administrators had started registering contributors into the micro pension scheme, Nigerians needed awareness and enlightenment to understand and key into the scheme.

“Micro pension scheme is very significant and important we need a lot of enlightenment campaign, education and publicity is key to the success of the scheme”, Adedeji said.

She said because of the all-important nature of micro pension scheme and the need for Nigerians who were not captured into the contributory pension scheme to be enlisted into the new initiative.

She however said the pension fund operators would use different strategies including agents and electronic gadgets in marketing the scheme to Nigerians.

She said the BVN data base would be of immense help to them in this regard, adding that operators would use electronic platforms to drive the process.
PenCom, on its part developed a framework for the implementation of the provisions of Section 2(3) of PRA 2014 on Micro Pension Plan.

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