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PenCom invests N6.5tr in securities as Buhari promises retirees better deal

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•Contributory scheme hits N8.74 trillion in January
Acting Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Aisha Dahir-Umar, has said N6.51 trillion, representing 73 per cent of the agency’s total assets, has been invested in Federal Government securities issued to finance various projects.Of the sum, N95.3 billion went for infrastructure while N7.19 billion was committed to the N10.67 billion Green Bond of the government.

Speaking at the launch of the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) yesterday in Abuja, she noted that the contributory pension scheme hit N8.74 trillion in January 2019 with the long-term domestic capital belonging to 8.46 million formal sector participants. Dahir-Umar said the scheme had transformed the course and pace of the country’s socio-economic development, adding that the MPP aligns with the social empowerment programmes of the current administration and seeks to ensure, in the long term, the sustainability of the benefits of the safety nets for beneficiaries to save for their old age.

The PenCom boss submitted that the new plan targets the significant majority of Nigeria’s working population who operate in the informal sector and is designed to fit the peculiarities of these informal sector groups. Consequently, the regulator has rolled out guideline on its implementation pursuant to Section 2(3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014. The document spelt out legal, institutional and operational framework for the administration of the product by licensed pension fund operators (PFOs) from the point of enrolment to that of accessing.

Already, the PFOs have put in place structure, infrastructure and manpower for adequate coverage and service delivery.A prospective MPP contributor is required to open a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) by completing a physical or electronic registration form with a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) of his or her choice.

The contributors may make savings daily, weekly, monthly or as may be convenient to them. Every contribution shall be split into two, comprising 40 per cent for contingent withdrawal and 60 per cent for retirement benefits. Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari said the initiative followed his government’s desire to restore the dignity of public servants through a sanitised pension system. He pointed out that retired civil servants deserved a fulfilling life after service, hence the need to tackle the “rot within the pension system.”

The president stated: “The dignity of retired public servants, who sacrificed their lives for this country, will be restored. We will ensure all hard-working Nigerians in the private sector, both formal and informal, can retire without fear.”Buhari pledged continued assistance for PenCom, adding: “This government remains committed to resolving all pending issues on pension payment in the public sector despite the lean the resources at its disposal.”He urged trade associations, unions, non-governmental organisations and stakeholders in the informal sector to work with government and the industry in enlightening the public on the benefits of the novel programme.

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