By Yemisi Izuora-Lagos
Retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), have complained over alleged delay in transfer of their pension funds meant for purchase of annuity to a life insurance company.
The complainants said they have appealed to their Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), Premium Pensions Limited to transfer their money to an insurance company of their choice for the purchase of life annuity.
Briefing the journalists on the issue they alleged that the PFA is depriving them the right to choose between the available options provided in the Pension Reform Act 2014 by forcefully imposing a programme withdrawal on them against their choice of annuity for life.
They added that for several months they have written to the company to effect the transfer but to date nothing has been done about it and that all effort to persuade them to effect the transfer have not yielded any fruit as they continue to pay them stipend at the end of the month.
According to them, they prefer annuity option as their retirement plan option as against programmed withdrawal being imposed on them by their pension withdrawal service provider.
They vowed to take any step to ensure that their pension money is kept where they want it to be.
Mr. Muhammed Adaviriku while speaking on the issue said he completed the transfer form since July 11 this year and to date the PFA has refused to make the transfer to his annuity account even after several pleas, disclosing that he had since signed an agreement with an annuity service provider.
“I am not interested in their programmed withdrawal, I want to buy annuity for life because I know that will pay me better.” Adaviriku added.
Adebayo Akinlara said he also completed his transfer form since September this year and that no action has been taken by the pfa to transfer his lump sum for the purchase of annuity.
He, however, said that the company has been paying him a monthly pension. “They keep telling me soon, soon since September. I am tired of this kind of people.” Akinlara noted.
The Chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Comrade Lekwot Daniel Obijieko said; all I expect from Premium Pensions is to obey the law. The have no right whatsoever to change the provisions of the Pension Act.
He said he had been making effort to report the matter to the Lagos Zonal office of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) but no action was taken.
However, Head of Corporate Communications of Premium Pension, Mr. Paddy Ezeala while responding to the allegation said that the pension Act is clear and that the company is not in custody of their money.
Ezeala said the Act established Pension Fund Custodians (PFC) and of course the regulator, PenCom is strict on compliance.
“If they have written for transfer, then we have done what is necessary and immediately approval is received it will be effected in accordance with the Act” Ezeala maintained.