The Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) has said that the Bill seeking to exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), will bring a set back to the reformed pension industry.
The Association’s Media, Branding and Communications Lead, Olajumoke Akinwa, said both chambers of the National Assembly passed a Bill for an Act to amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014 to exempt the National Assembly Service from the CPS.
According to the group, the passage of the Bill will set an unsafe precedent that would not bode well for Nigerians, working in both private and public sectors, who depend on the CPS for financial security and stability after retirement.
The Bill is also seeking to establish the National Assembly Service Pension Board and for Related Matters (HB 2025).
“The passage of the Bill seems to have been unnecessarily expedited and shrouded in secrecy with little engagement and input from critical stakeholders in the industry because it was passed during the National Assembly’s recess.
“Indeed, it is worrying that the bill did not go through any public hearing, a key component of the legislative process that allows stakeholders in the pension industry to have their view of the possible inclusion in the entire process,” the statement said.
It added: “If this scape through in the country, pertinent issues such as the amendment of retirement age, funding of pension liability and the potential debt burden on government; all of which are affected by the Bill would have been debated and brought to the fore.”
The introduction of the CPS 18 years ago in Nigeria marked a departure from the unsustainable pension schemes the country had operated in the past.
The Association, said the new era brought transparency, international best practices and guaranteed peace of mind to millions of pensioners.
These reasons, it said, the new Bill is unjustifiable.
PenOp lamented that the exemption of any agency or group from the CPS holds grave consequences for the nation’s struggling fiscal position.
The group said it would potentially upend the retirement security of pensioners who have given their blood and sweat in service to the country.
PenOp said: “Without reservations, as a critical stakeholder in Nigeria’s pension industry, we consider the passage of this bill a procedural anomaly and legislative immorality.”