President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that his administration is currently addressing inherited outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government within the scarce resources available to it.
Speaking while declaring open the third edition of the World Pension Summit ‘Africa Special’, with the theme: “Pension Innovation: The African Perspective”, held in Abuja recently, the President said that pension matters occupied a strategic place not only as a vital component of social security but also as a vehicle for nation building.
Represented at the occasion by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, the President said, “Before the reform, Nigeria had large pension liabilities in trillions of naira but now the contributory Pension Scheme has generated over N5.83 trillion of pension assets as at June 30, 2016 which are invested into various sectors of the Nigerian economy.”
According to him, within the twelve years of the implementation of the scheme, it has to a large extent eliminated incentives for corruption and has stabilized the country’s pension administration system.
The President expressed delight that Pencom is currently working to extend the net to cover the informal sector under the micro pension scheme, adding that the Commission had been asked to step up its enforcement drive to ensure full compliance by public and private sector institutions in line with the enabling law.
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that though he is excited over the success so far recorded in the Nigerian Pension Industry, further innovations must be undertaken with caution. Pension assets according to him must be preserved “No matter what we do”.
The former President stressed further, “I like innovation, but innovation must be with caution; we can’t be too adventurous. Pensioners must have access to their money whenever they needed it”.
Earlier, the co-founder of the World Pension Summit, Mr. Eric Eggink, said efforts should be made to utilize the advancement of modern technology to significantly boost pension participation.
He said that products like micro pension as well as providing online access to pension products and any innovation that covers the threshold to accommodate players in the informal sector would be a great boost to the growth of the sector.
Also, the Director General, National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said that part of the expectation of the summit would be to brainstorm on ideas and experiences on innovative practices in pensions and social security to advance the African agenda of addressing economic and social challenges.