The Senate have been urged to expedite action to confirm the appointment of the Chairman, Director General and four Commissioners for the National Pension Commission (PenCom) forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari in line with Section 19 (3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014.
Executive Director, Centre For Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor, who made this call in Lagos, lamented that the absence of the Board and Executive Committee for more than five years, was a setback to the work of PenCom.
He said “The Board of PenCom was dissolved in 2015 or thereabout and for almost five years, the Commission has been without a Board. It has become a convention in Nigeria that once a new administration is sworn in at the Federal level, all Governing Boards of Federal Government Agencies are dissolved and reconstituted at the pleasure of the President. In the absence of the Board, PenCom has been managed by a Director-General and currently by an Acting Director-Director General.”
Takor pointed out that the lawmakers should bear in mind that out of a Board membership of 16, ten of them are Institutional representatives of critical stakeholders in the pension industry, whose inputs are critical in the formulation and provision of general policy guidelines for the discharge of the functions of the Commission; monitoring and ensuring the implementation of policies and programmes of the Commission; and carrying out such other functions as necessary or expedient to ensure the efficient performance of functions of the Commission under the Act.
He maintained that the pension industry looks forward to Senate’s expeditious confirmation of the appointments that will bring a new lease of life in PenCom and the industry that is emerging as the fasted growing industry in the country, creating jobs and value chain across industries within the financial sector of the economy.
The appointment of Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar as the substantive DG of the commission, he stated was in line with Section 19 (3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014.
The Section provides that “The Chairman, Director-General and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Senate”. Section 19 (2) provides that the Board of the Commission shall consist of (a) a part-time Chairman who shall be a fit and proper person with adequate cognate experience in pension matters; (b) the Director-General of the Commission; (c) four full-time Commissioners of the Commission; (d) a representative each of the following agencies and institutions: Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Federal Ministry of Finance; Nigeria Labour Congress; Trade Union Congress of Nigeria; Nigeria Union of Pensioners; Nigeria Employers Consultative Association; Central Bank of Nigeria; Security and Exchange Commission; Nigeria Stock Exchange; and National Insurance Commission,”he added.
By the Organogram of PenCom, he said the Commissioners who together with the Director-General are members of the Executive Committee of Pencom, will be heading various departments of the Commission.
He maintained that it is to the credit of the Acting Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahiru-Umar and members’ of the Management Team that PenCom has been able to move the pension industry forward through effective regulation and supervision of the industry; ensuring increased level of compliance by private sector employers; under their watch, small and medium enterprises are increasingly embracing the CPS; expanding the coverage of the CPS through the Micro Pension Plan, which as at June 2020, witnessed 51,974 informal sector workers enrolling into the CPS, contributing N42.1 million; under their watch, RSA registration grew to 9, 039,727 as at second quarter of 2020 growing pension assets to 11.08 trillion naira during the same period; and by ensuring that pension operators are managed by fit and proper persons, thereby ensuring that the industry continue to be insulated from fraud and maladministration thereby securing pension funds and assets.
Nigeria Needs N1trn For Efficient Electricity Transmission – TCN
By Agency Report
The Transmission Company of Nigeria has said Nigeria requires nothing less than N1tn to effectively wheel electricity through the national grid.
The Executive Director, Transmission Service Provider, TCN, Victor Adewumi, said this at the 52nd Power Dialogue of the Nigeria Electricity Hub on which held online in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said TCN would require the sum to make the country’s power grid stable, adding that the $1.6bn which the transmission company was getting from international agencies would not be enough to stablilise the grid.
When asked to state how much would be needed to get the grid to transmit electricity effectively, Adewumi replied, “Simply put, TCN requires nothing less than N1tn to make the grid to be very stable.
“For the project that TCN is financing internally, relying on our IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) and the Federal Government budget system, TCN requires nothing less than N600bn. way that even the Federal Government can provide this kind of fund.”
He said investors were invited to come and fund some of the projects in TCN, as they would recoup their investments over time.
Adewumi said, “So the alternative way is to look at project financing, where those who have the money can come to TCN and finance probably the transmission lines and then look at the cost of energy to be wheeled on that line, spread it over a period of time and then get their money back.
He said, “But with the current kind of fund that is entering TCN, there is no way TCN can embark on that.
“This is because the Discos are not giving us the required money; we are getting less than 60 per cent of TCN tariff.
He added, “That is even after the Nigerian Electricity a Regulatory Commission forced them to do it.”
He, however, stated that the Discos would not receive all the blame as many power users were involved in electricity theft.
Nigeria Ranked 3rd Most Terrorised Country Worldwide
Nigeria has been ranked third most terrorised country in the world by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report, which stated that death attributed to Boko Haram in Nigeria increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019.
According to the report, “Nigeria had the second largest fall in total deaths, owing largely to a 72 percent reduction in fatalities attributed to Fulani extremists.
“Despite this decrease, the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019.
“Renewed activity by Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger, remains a substantial threat to the region.”
The report added that: “In 2019, Boko Haram carried out 11 suicide bombings causing 68 fatalities. Suicide bombings accounted for 6% of all terror-related incidents by Boko Haram in 2019, marking an 89% decline from their peak in 2017.
“Boko Haram was responsible for Nigeria’s deadliest terrorist attack in 2019 when assailants attacked a funeral in Badu, Borno State.
“At least 70 people were killed and 10 others were wounded in the attack and ensuing clash.
“The two main factions of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) and the followers of Abubakar Shekau, are both engaged in an insurgency campaign against the Nigerian government.
“Violence by the two main factions of Boko Haram have taken a large toll on the civilian population, particularly in the North-East, where continued attacks have internally displaced more than two million people and caused a further 240,000 Nigerian refugees to flee to neighbouring countries.”
FG Receives Repatriated 600-year-old Ife Artefact
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed received the repatriated Ife Terracotta from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in the company of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk on Thursday in Abuja.
The Minister said the return of the stolen Ife Terracotta marked a milestone in Nigeria’s efforts at pursuing the return of the country ’s antiquities.
Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to Lai Mohammed, quoted the Minister as saying the government’s resolve to seek the repatriation of the nation’s timeless and priceless artifact was strengthened by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s marching order for Nigeria to tap into tourism and other fields, where Nigeria has comparative advantages, in order to generate income for the nation and secure jobs for our youths.
Mohammed said, “ It gives me profound joy to receive this very important antiquity, an Ife Terracotta , which is dated to be at least 600 years old . I am even more delighted that our efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities , which we launched last November , have started yielding
“ One way of generating income for the country is if our cultural properties are exhibited around the world to a fee -paying audience, on the basis of proper agreement that acknowledges us as owners and confers the right benefits on us. But this is not possible for as long as most of them adorn the museums and private collections of others , who describe them as their properties. ”
While describing the handing over of the artifact as a new beginning, the Minister said apart from the pecuniary benefits , the priceless objects wrought by the nation ’s forebears are unifying factors among the diverse cultures in the country .
He said the Ife Terracotta was smuggled from Nigeria through Ghana to The Netherlands in 2019 with a forged document.
The Minister of Information and Culture said following the interception of the artifact by the Dutch Customs at Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands , Nigeria was invited to prove her case against the suspected smuggler , which the country did successfully , hence the return of the artifact .
“ Let me state here that Nigeria believes in joint international efforts to put a stop to illicit export and import of cultural goods . The issue of cultural property should not be a ground of rancour and discord among nations . That is if nations choose to tow the path which the Kingdom of The Netherlands has chosen by insisting on justice , fairness , and amity . ”
Onyeama thanked The Netherlands for the efficient and expeditious manner in which it deployed resources to identify , retrieve , and repatriate the Ife Terracotta to Nigeria .
Harry van Dijk said the return of the artifact is a fitting gift to mark the 50 th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention on the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Culture Heritage, of which Nigeria and The Netherlands are signatories .
The Director- General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof . Abba Isa -Tijjani, has taken custody of the artifact for cleaning and treatment at the Conversation Laboratory before its eventual display to the public.