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Lack Of PenCom Board Stalls N14,400 Minimum Pension Payment

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Nike Popoola
Five years after the pension operators and the National Pension Commission drafted guidelines to commence N 14 , 400 minimum pensions for retirees , the payment is yet to begin.
A source at PenCom said the minimum pension could not commence because the commission had no board in the past five years.
Operators had recommended 80 per cent of minimum wage to be paid to retirees , following complaints of ridiculously low stipends paid to retirees with low balances in their Retirement Savings Account .
The PenCom source said, “ The guidelines are yet to be approved . So, we still cannot say this is the amount because we are going to make contributions before it is approved .
“ What was proposed then was 80 per cent of minimum wage at that time , which was N 14 , 400 .”
“ We did not have a board and that was why we could not progress with it , but now that we are expecting to have a board , we hope it would be reviewed because it is the responsibility of the board to approve it . ”
According to the source, with a new board , the commission may review the minimum pensions based on what the current minimum wage is .
It would be recalled that PenCom ’s board was sacked in 2015 , after which the executives were dissolved in 2017 .
At a retreat organised by the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria for the National Assembly Joint Committees for Establishment and Public Service of the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Pensions in December, the operators urged the Federal Government to constitute PenCom board .
They expressed worry that the sector , which had continued to record the fastest growing assets in the financial system , had been left without a board .
As of June 2020 , total pension funds stood at N 11 .05 tn .
The Pension Reform Act 2014 provided that PenCom should establish and maintain a fund to be known as the Pension Protection Fund in respect of the guarantee minimum pension.
According to the Act , funding of the minimum guaranteed pension would be partly obtained from an annual subvention of one per cent of the total monthly wage bill payable to employees in the public service of the federation and returns from pension fund investments .
It would also be funded from the annual pension protection levy paid by PenCom and all licensed pension operators at a rate to be determined by the commission from time to time .
The draft guideline , which was awaiting approval stated that informal sector workers and casual workers must have contributed for 120 and 135 months respectively before they could enjoy this privilege .
This initiative, according to the operators , will bring an end to situations were retirees are paid abysmally low pensions or when the balance in their RSA were awfully small, which made them un -pensionable .

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Pension

Over 2,100 Dissatisfied Pension Contributors Move To Change PFAs

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By Sola Alabadan

 

Within a period of 15 days, more than 2,100 Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders who are dissatisfied with the services being rendered by their Pension Fund Administrators  (PFAs) have indicated their intention to move their accounts from their PFAs to another one, following the launch of the pension transfer window by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

The Head, ICT, PenCom, Mr. Polycarp Anyanwu, who disclosed this during a virtual 2020 Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) Media Retreat for journalists yesterday, said over 2,100 applications were submitted and received by the commission between November 16 and 30.

The transfer window, known as Retirement Savings Account Transfer System (RTS), was launched by PenCom on November 16 in Abuja, in accordance with Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act, 2014, which allows aggrieved contributors to move their RSA through a transfer window from one PFA to another. Polycarp noted that most of the pension contributors seeking a switch to new PFAs were those not contented with the service delivery of their current pension fund handlers, a development, he said, would, no doubt, enhance quality service delivery of the PFAs to their clients. Explaining how the window operates, he said the RTS had four quarters in a year, which are March 31, June 30, September 31, and December 31, in which contributors can change their PFAs once in a year. He added that the over 2,100 applications received so far, would be processed for the December 31 window.

A month to the above mentioned dates, he said the concerned pension fund operators must have submitted necessary documentation to the regulatory body, informing it of the amount leaving their kitty and the RSA holders concerned, so as to give ample time for PenCom, the affected PFAs and the receiving PFAs to plan ahead. On the part of the contributors, he said majorly, fingerprint, which serves as their consent, was a unique criteria to switch PFAs.

Although he expects some pension fund operators to be on the losing end and some proactive ones winning the disgruntled contributors, he stressed that the overall benefits was to instill healthy competition among operators, which will, in return, lead to better service delivery and improved investment returns on pension assets.
Similarly, the Head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Mr. Peter Aghahowa, said the activation of the RSA transfer process would engender competition and improve service delivery in the pension industry, while asserting the right of RSA holders to determine which PFA manages their pension contributions and retirement benefits.

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Pension

RSA Transfer: PenOp Charges Pension Operators To Maintain High Ethical Standards

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By Sola Alabadan

Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) has charged its members to maintain high standards of ethics in the conduct of their business, especially as it is possible for holders of Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to transfer their RSA from one PFA to another.

The Governing Council of PenOp also hailed the National Pension Commission (PenCom) for eventually opening the RSA transfer window, saying it is a welcome development.

PenOp’s Media, Communications & Branding Officer, Ukemeobong Akanam, stated that the council believes this development will accelerate the journey towards greater self-regulation in Nigeria’s pension industry. The council also commended President Buhari for the constitution of the PenCom board.

The Governing Council meeting which was held virtually for the first time, had in attendance all the Trustees and Executives of the association. The meeting was directed by the Chairman of the council of PenOp – Professor Fabian Ajogwu.

The other attendees were Ms. Daisy Ekineh, the former acting Director-General of the Security Exchange Commissionand CEO of DSE advisory Limited, Muhammad Ahmad; Pioneer Director-General of the National Pension Commission and current chairman of Polaris Bank, Alhaji Bello Maccido; Chairman of FBN Quest Merchant Bank Limited and six Executive Council members comprising of Wale Odutola; President, Akeeb Akinola, Vice President, Oguche Agudah, CEO PenOP, Amaka Andy-Azike, Head of Branding & Communications Committee, Glory Etaduovie, Head, Legal And Regulatory, Eric Fajemisin, Head, Technical Committee and Bayo Yusuf, Treasurer.

The Governing Council of PenOp provides advice and guidance to the Executive Committee in the running of the affairs of the association.

PenOp is an independent, non-governmental, non-political and non-profit making body established to promote the operations of the pension industry, provide for self-regulation and ensure that international best practices relating to the industry are observed by the operators registered in Nigeria.

It is the umbrella association for all the Licensed Pension Fund Custodians, Pension Fund Administrators and Closed Pension Fund Administrators (PFCs, PFAs and CPFAs) operating in Nigeria.

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Kwara Set To Stop Ex-Governors’ Pensions

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Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has said he will initiate measure to repeal the law that awards pension to all former governors and their deputies that have served in the state.
Abdulrazaq disclosed this in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, on Friday.
The governor said he would Initiate a bill to the State House of Assembly that passed the law that former governors and their deputies be paid pension to repeal the law.
The Kwara State House of Assembly in 2011 passed a bill to pay pensions to governors and their deputies who have completed their tenure in the state.
Among the past governors of the state are the late Mohammed Lawal, Bukola Saraki, and Abdulfatah Ahmed.
The statement read in part, “Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq will next week send a bill to the State House of Assembly requesting the lawmakers to immediately repeal the law awarding pension packages to former governors and former deputy governors.
“The Governor has listened to voices of the majority of the citizens opposing the pension law for former governours and deputy governors. In line with his campaign mantra and as a product of democracy himself, he will be sending a bill to the House of Assembly next week requesting them to repeal the law.
“As representatives of the people, the lawmakers would exercise their discretion to call a public hearing on the topic to further harvest wider opinions on the topic.
“However, the Governor feels it is time for the law as it is to give way. He would rather commit scarce public funds to tackle the question of poverty and youth unemployment.”

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