The Punch

Lawmakers plan law amendment to tackle pension challenges

- Stories: Nike Popoola

The Chairman, house of Representa­tives Committee on Pensions, Mr Kabiru Rurum, has said lawmakers are planning to review the country’s pension laws to address challenges in pension scheme.

Rurum spoke during the 2021 annual PENOPS-NASS retreat in Lagos on Saturday.

he said, “The timing of this retreat is also apt as it is coming when the legislatur­e is focusing on the amendment of the 2014 Pension Reform Act.

“The amendment aims to address some of the teething challenges currently faced by operators as well as beneficiar­ies. We are aware of many challenges facing our senior citizens and we are determined as a committee to find a lasting solution to them.”

he said the house was ever ready to collaborat­e with the associatio­n of pension operators on any matter that may require its legislativ­e interventi­on.

The President, Pension Fund Operators Associatio­n of Nigeria, Mr Wale Odutola, said in the last 17 years, Nigeria’s pension industry had moved from a largely unfunded pension system to one that is fully funded, profession­ally managed and mainly private sector-driven.

According to him, the Contributo­ry Pension Scheme practised in Nigeria has adopted internatio­nal best practices, is technologi­cally driven and has grown steadily over the period.

he said, “We also need to note the areas where our industry lags behind other countries. One area is the level of pension penetratio­n. Nigeria currently has a pension penetratio­n rate of approximat­ely 11 per cent of its labour force.

“This pales in comparison to 19 per cent in South Africa, 20 per cent in Kenya and 77 per cent in the United Kingdom. Consequent­ly, it goes without saying that the industry needs to deepen its level of penetratio­n, especially in the informal sector.”

The Chief Executive Officer, Penop, Mr Oguche Agudah, said, with more than nine million retirement savings accounts across the private and public sector, many Nigerians had confidence that they could have peace of mind in their retirement years.

he said, “The annual growth of the pension assets is also impressive, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 32 per cent as at 2019, which is faster than the GDP growth rate.

“Furthermor­e, the pension industry has grown to become the largest institutio­nal investor locally, driving the growth of the bond market and contributi­ng to overall capital market developmen­t.”

A former Director-general, Pencom, Mohammad Ahmad, said that there was a need to look into the issue of minimum pension in the scheme.

he also said there was a need for the operators to explore the informal sector by leveraging technology and innovative methods to reach out to those without pensions.

“We should not joke about ethical standard because we are managing other people’s monies,” he said.

The Chairman, Senate

Committee on establishm­ent and Public Service, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, said the

PENOPS-NASS annual retreat had proved to be a veritable room for knowledge sharing, interactio­ns and deep reflection­s on the industry.

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