THE National Pension Commission (PenCom) has established a special unit to drive micro pension scheme in the country. Director General, (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, speaking at an interactive session with media in Lagos said that in implementing the micro-pension initiative, the informal sector has been segmented into three broad categories – The low income earners; high income earners and SMEs and that each of these categories would be targeted with appropriate pension products and sensitization programmes that meet their peculiarities.
The state that the commission has already commenced the sensitization of service providers and relevant regulators as well as the targeted workers in the informal sector with a view to creating the enabling environment and buy-in.
She said that PenCom would ensure robust technological platform is put in place to drive the initiative, adding that special mobile phone applications that had been successfully implemented in some jurisdictions for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers could be adopted to prop the plan.
“It is evident that a robust technological platform that would support the provision of customer services is necessary to effectively and efficiently register, collect contributions, provide Retirement Savings Account support, pay benefits and provide financial advisory services to this class of workers.
“Coincidently, special mobile phone applications had been successfully implemented in some jurisdictions for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers. The success stories of these applications drives the confidence that similar platform can be designed and implemented in Nigeria,” she said.
The DG, however, said that the funds are not lying idle, noting that, the funds are invested in Federal Government bonds, among other lucrative investment windows.
She affirmed that the commission has never and will never prevent investing of pension assets into infrastructural development and other sectors of the economy , but that such investments must abide by the investment guidelines in the Pension Reform Act 2014.
“Nobody denies anybody from accessing pension funds for investment, but the guideline must be strictly followed, and majority of those complaining of such denial have not complied with investment guidelines, she said.
She noted that the pension assets is a contribution of workers who have decided to save parts of their salaries as pension in a bid to enjoy these savings after retirement, the PenCom DG said such persons should not be denied their pension benefits when they demand for it, hence, the need to protect the growing pension assets.
While advising the subscribers to the Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS) to remain calm, she said the pension funds is well secured, adding that since inception, the funds is yet to record any form of financial mismanagement.