Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has lamented the non-participation of those in the grassroots in the financial sector, noting that this has affected the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
SEC’s Acting Director-General, Mary Uduk, stated this during its financial inclusion sensitization programme in Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja, on Thursday.
Uduk, who was represented by Head of Investor Education at the commission, Francis Okafor, stated that the sensitization programme hopes to enlighten those at the grassroots, and educate them on how to invest in the Capital Market and the financial industry.
She said the target of the commission is to ensure that by the end of this year, every area council in Abuja is reached.
Uduk said: “The last sensitization programme for this year will be held in Abaji area council. We want to ensure that by the end of this year, every area council in Abuja is reached.
“If you buy shares, you are sure to get it back (dividends). Pension is not only for civil servants, but also for business people through the Micro Pension Scheme; that is why we have partnered PenCom.
“In Kano we talked about commodity ecosystem and non-interest finance. It was quite successful in Kano.
“Commodity Ecosystem is all about commodities – agricultural products. In the hay days of this country, we had things like the groundnut pyramids etc., today, those thing have died down. Beyond oil, Agriculture is a sector that can bring this country into limelight.
“We hope to establish and increase commodity exchange that will compete, if not better than what we have today in the stock exchange.
“A committee has submitted a report on the Commodity Ecosystem; we are currently at the implementation stage.
“We have partners and collaborators under financial inclusion. We have the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC), National Pension Commission (PenCom), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) etc.”
The apex regulator of the capital market encouraged participants to embrace collective investment schemes like the Esusu and others that are regulated by SEC. Explaining that the Sukuk which is a non-interest finance scheme, is not a purely religious arrangement that excludes everyone else, urging participants to engage it.
Head of Awareness Unit of Micro Pensions Department of PenCom, Mr. Emeka Onuora, said: “Micro pension is part of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). It is a coverage extension of the CPS.
“We have always placed emphasis on those that are working in government offices under the CPS; this time around, we want to include individuals working on their own. We want to educate them on the need to make provisions for their retirement regardless of whether they are working on their own.
“For the Micro Pension Scheme (MPS), you have to be registered to get started just like you get registered under the CPS with Pension Fund Administrator (PFA).
“When it comes to making payments (contributions), you can use your phones, ATM cards, USSD, banks, etc.
“For the Micro Pension Scheme, you are not compelled on the amount you have to pay or the frequency of payment. You can pay in daily, weekly or monthly.
“The MPS has incentives such that you have access to a certain percentage of your contributions for everyday expenses; this amounts to 40%. The other 60% is kept for your pension and is being invested by the Pension Fund Administrator so that when you retire, you are guaranteed your pension.”