Pension: Labour demands stiffer sanctions against non-compliance

Aremu who is also the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, commended PenCom for changing the story of pensioners from that of agony to contributory pool fund, sustainable fund for pension claims after retirement.

According to him, “PenCom’s remarkable growth and development in just less than 10 years of its establishment, shows that Nigeria is capable of institution building. With 20 PFAs, seven closed pension fund administrators, four Pension Fund Custodians with turnover of billions of Naira, about N3.7 trillion worth of pension fund assets and 5.83 million registered workers Pencom deserves commendation.
We acknowledge the fact that the Ag. Director General of PenCom, Ms. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu within a short time has consolidated the gains of the past by her predecessor, opening new frontiers as we are witnessing today. North West Zonal office in Kano has added to the number of Zonal Offices that have been commendably commissioned by PenCom namely Lagos, Ilorin, Calabar and Awka.”

“With the opening of PenCom’s North West Zonal office in Kano, we expect Kano State to soonest also join the new contributory pension scheme.

The old defined benefit scheme as good as it could be is not sustainable. With the new pension scheme, there is good corporate governance, strengthened Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, with guaranteed transparency and accountability.

All the revelations about the public sector pension scam show that we must urgently think outside the box of unfunded, crime-prone defined benefit (DB). The future lies in the mandatory individual defined contributions which the Pension reform Act represents.”

“The bane of public sector pension lies in its non-contributory character as well as sheer corruption and diversion of funds even allegedly for partisan political purposes. NLC protest in the past over pension is legitimately directed against this much abused non contributory public pension scheme. The challenge lies in deepening the new contributory pension scheme.”

Pension reform amendment Bill 2013

The NLC Vic President lauded President Goodluck Jonathan for trying to deepen and strengthen the pension scheme through the Pension Reform amendment Bill 2013, saying “We commend the National Assembly through the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service and House Committee on Pensions for the commitment to improve on the Pension Reform Act 2004.

It is good the Pension Reform Act is being amended to further widen the scope of coverage to include the informal sector, tighten sanction for non compliance and review the rate of contribution among others. At the end of the day, what is important is that every working man or woman should be paid on retirement from work.”

“We therefore call on President Goodluck Jonathan to avoid the temptation to politicize the positions of Chairmanship of the Board of PenCom as well as its Director General. We should rely on those who have the experience and competence to manage the fund.
“They are not far-fetched if we look inwards. The President should have an eye on institution building which requires statesmanship and not partisanship. We cannot afford to play politics with the new pension scheme given the ugly experience of the recent past. From the point of view of labour, the pension scheme will be a determinant factor for 2015 general election.

“Labour will make pension issue a campaign issue and will support only politicians who pay minimum wage and minimum pension for working men and women.”

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