PenCom Reviews Strategy To Enhance Awareness Of Contributory Pension Scheme

Yemisi Izuora

The National Pension Commission, PenCom, has reviewed its engagement strategies that will bolster awareness of the country’s Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.

This is after it observed gaps in the knowledge level of the scheme.

Director General of the Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar, speaking during a media workshop for Insurance and Pension Journalists in Lagos, said the Agency has already developed a 5 strategic focus areas to drive the scheme.

Speaking on the theme, : ‘Positioning the Pension Industry in the Post COVID-19 Era’ Mr Peter Aghahowa, Head Corporate Communication, PenCom, the DG, said the Agency is laying emphasis on Public Enlightenment and education as one of the five Strategic Focus Areas currently pursued by the Commission.

This is considered germane considering that seventeen years after the pension reform in Nigeria, there still exists a knowledge gap on the CPS, she said.

Consequently, the Commission is committed to reinvigorating its public enlightenment and education drive in order to address this challenge.

Other Strategic Focus Areas according to her, include the resolution of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government; portfolio diversification of pension fund investments, improvement in customer service delivery across the pension industry and unrelenting pursuit of sustainable growth of the pension industry by expanding coverage of the CPS.

Dahir-Umar also said that the RSA Transfer Process’, provides insights into the features of the RSA Transfer System (RTS), which enables the seamless transfer of RSAs from one PFA to another among other things.

She informed the workshop of recent approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, following the Commission’s submission on the payment of some outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government, under the CPS.

The Presidential approval covered payment of outstanding accrued pension rights for verified and enrolled retirees of treasury-funded MDAs that are yet to be paid their retirement benefits, as well as the back log of death benefits claims due to beneficiaries of deceased employees of treasury funded MDAs.

Furthermore, she said the President also approved the payment of 2.5 percent differential in the rate of employer pension contribution for FGN retirees and employees, which resulted from the increase in the minimum pension contribution for employers from 7.5 percent to 10 percent, in line with Section 4(1) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.

“These payments would undoubtedly, boost the RSA balances of the beneficiaries towards better retirement benefits. The settlement of these outstanding accrued pension rights of verified and enrolled FGN retirees would result in reversing a major challenge that has lingered since 2014. Also, the commencement of payment of the reviewed monthly pension contribution rate by the Federal Government is another significant step in ensuring compliance with the PRA 2014. ” she said.

Speaking further, the DG, said the most recent technological innovation introduced by the Commission is the in-house designed and developed online Enrolment Application, which has capabilities to register, verify and enroll prospective retirees of Treasury-Funded Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

By the deployment of this new application, mass gathering of people has been avoided while enhancing convenience for the prospective retirees through a seamless enrolment process.

Another notable technological innovation by the Commission was the design and deployment of the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) Transfer System (RTS), which was launched in November 2020.

The RTS is a Computer Application developed by the Commission, through which RSA holders transfer their RSAs from one Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to another. Indeed, the activation of the RSA transfer provision, which deepens individual choices, is a major milestone in the implementation of the CPS, the DG added.

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