Sta­tus of the Pen­sion Re­form Act 2004

Daily Trust - - VIEWS -

Ibe­lieve that large parts of the Pen­sion Re­form Act 2004 are un­con­sti­tu­tional. This is be­cause cer­tain pro­vi­sions of the Act pur­port to in­clude the pri­vate sec­tor in its scope , con­trary to the pro­vi­sions of Item 44 of the Exclusive Leg­isla­tive List of the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion, which lim­its the Na­tional As­sem­bly to reg­u­lat­ing only on ‘’pen­sions, gra­tu­ities , re­tire­ment and other ben­e­fits payable out of the Con­sol­i­dated Rev­enue Fund ‘’.

To that ex­tent, there­fore, the afore­said pro­vi­sions of the Act are ul­tra vires the Na­tional As­sem­bly, in­valid, null and void. The ob­vi­ous con­se­quence of this is that the Na­tional Pen­sion Com­mis­sion is in­com­pe­tent to con­tinue to man­age and su­per­in­tend pri­vate sec­tor pen­sions. Con­se­quently, all the con­tri­bu­tions made by the pri­vate sec­tor to the scheme - which is the overwhelming pro­por­tion of those con­tri­bu­tions - will now have to be uncoupled from the scheme and al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments made thereof . The so­lu­tion to this un­seemly state of af­fairs is for the Na­tional As­sem­bly to amend the Con­sti­tu­tion to in­clude the pri­vate sec­tor within the pow­ers of the leg­is­la­ture in terms of pen­sions - or, less at­trac­tively, to amend the Pen­sion Re­form Act it­self to ex­clude the pri­vate sec­tor from its con­trib­u­tors.

Need­less to say, if this is not done, the con­tri­bu­tions of that sec­tor to the scheme - which presently stands at tril­lions of naira - are in grave le­gal dan­ger. They stand im­per­illed by a suc­cess­ful le­gal chal­lenge to the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the Act as afore­said which is presently pend­ing be­fore the Pres­i­dent of the Na­tional In­dus­trial Court in suit no. NICN/ABU/43/2014 be­tween Abubakar Sani vs. Na­tional Pen­sion Com­mis­sion. In­ci­den­tally, this is com­ing up on April 11, 2014.

Abubakar Sani, Abuja <xl4­sure@ ya­hoo.com>

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