The National Pension Commission (PenCom) Thursday put the total stock of pension assets as at September at N9.58 trillion, saying the amount was contributed by 8.85 million Nigerians who are participants in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
It is, however, striving to capture the remaining 90 million Nigeria’s working population into the pension scheme, PenCom Acting Director-General, Aisha Dahiru Umar, told journalists in Benin, Edo State, at a workshop the commission organized for them.
According to her, out of the above 90 million people excluded from the pension scheme, PenCom has targeted to capture about 17 million that are self-employed and engaged in small businesses through the micro pension scheme.
She, however, said about 70 per cent of the working population had no bank accounts, let alone pension scheme because of lack of means of identification and poor financial behaviours.
She stated that the above growth justified the commission’s emphasis on the safety of pension funds as the bedrock of sustaining the CPS and assured all stakeholders that the pension reform remains steadily on course.
According to her, these modest milestones notwithstanding, the commission and pension operators are committed to actualizing the growth potentials of the pension industry.
She described the commission’s current strategic focus, which aims to expand access to pension via the CPS, as a veritable tool for economic development.
“This aligns with the pension reform objective of old age poverty reduction and improvement in the welfare and general standard of living. The quest to expand coverage of pension is being pursued through some transformational initiatives, especially the Micro Pension Plan,” she added.
She said the theme of the workshop; “Expanding Coverage of the Pension Industry,” described the commission’s current strategic focus, which aims to expand access to pension via the CPS, as a veritable tool for economic development.
“The sessions at this workshop will, therefore, commence with a presentation on the Micro Pension Plan (MPP). As you are aware, the MPP, which was launched in March, 2019 by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, is targeted at the informal sector and self-employed who are not mandatorily covered under the CPS. It is noteworthy that the MPP was designed with significant flexibility in recognition of the peculiarities of the targeted population. It is our expectation that media practitioners would utilize the opportunity of this workshop to understand the essence and workings of the Micro Pension Plan and amplify the same in their reportage for the overall benefit of Nigerians,” she stated.
She said the commission in June developed an ICT application tagged: “Enhanced Contributors’ Registration System (ECRS)” to ensure the integrity of the contributor’s database.
“The ECRS is an in-house developed ICT application that was deployed in June 2019 to enhance the integrity of the contributors’ database. It has also been integrated with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) database to help authenticate the uniqueness of individuals seeking to register under the CPS. The ECRS provides a platform for the registration of Micro Pension Plan participants and is a major step towards the introduction of the transfer window, which will enable contributors to change to the PFAs of their choice, in line with Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014,” she added.