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Hajiya Aisha Dahir-Umar, DG Pencom
A civil society group, Citizens Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI) has given a pat on the back of the present management of National Pension Commission (Pencom) under the able leadership of Hajiya Aisha Dahir-Umar. This is informed by her transparent management style of the pension industry and the regulation of the pension assets since she took over the mantle of leadership at the Commission.
CWAI applauds her management dexterity, corporate and good governance regime in managing the affairs of the pension industry which have become the cynosure of all eyes and a pride of the nation currently. That is why CWAI acknowledges her strong regulatory framework for the entire pension scheme and proper structures put in place to address inherent weaknesses and administrative abuses hitherto witnessed in the system. This is, indeed, worthy of commendation by all well-meaning stakeholders.
As such, and due to the giant strides presently taking place at the apex regulatory institution, it has brought an incremental accumulation of pension funds and assets management in Nigeria. That is what informs various tiers of government’s clamour and vehement interest in lending the funds to facilitate their various capital projects across the Nigerian states.
In a press release signed by the Executive Secretary of CWAI, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, the organization emphasized that the present policies put in place by the dynamic and sound management of Pencom supports the economic development as well as stems further growth of pension liabilities of both federal and state governments.
Expatiating on the matter, CWAI noted that the new initiative facilitates the micro pension which is applicable to the informal sector, also spearheaded by the present management, and has greatly enlarged the pension funds and assets running into trillions of Naira, the first in the history of Pencom.
Accordingly, CWAI asserts that the daily monitoring of investment of pension funds, regulation and the supervision of all pension matters by Pencom has brought about total confidence from both retirees, employers, employees and stakeholders in the industry. CWAI also noted that the licensing of all pension operators, supervision by the federal government and FCT PTADs and the maintenance of data base of all pension matters like never before is indeed worthy of note and commendable.
CWAI has also averred that the endorsement of stakeholders in the industry as to the enforcement provisions, compliances, sanctions including penalties put in place by regulatory body to ensure strict compliance to the ethics; standards and growth of the industry are unparalled in Pencom’s history.
CWAI states that Pencom, part of its responsibilities and functions to promote capacity building and institutional strengthening of Pension Funds Administrators (PFAs) and Pension Funds Custodians (PFCs), has received and investigated complaints of impropriety made against any PFA, PFC or employers. That is precisely why Pencom has upgraded its standard and ethics, including building the capacities of these institutions to conform to best global practices. That is what has informed rating agencies across the globe to continue to rate the industry giant high in all ramifications in A+ grade.
The feat is indeed garland for the management as a foremost pension reformist that has brought smiles to the faces of pensioners and retirees who are satisfied and courageously call on the management to continue the good corporate culture and extending the clarion call to other states and organizations to join the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). CWAI reiterates that with the introduction of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 and the expanded coverage of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), which will enhance both the organized private, public and informal sectors of the industry like never before; including the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) that has greatly increased the accumulated benefits to Pension Fund Investment Income. With this, the employer, employee and other sectors of the industry have benefited like never before, which has led to the enhancement of the apex body to proactively address emerging issues.
The press release further acknowledges the trend in the industry that has made it mandatory that statutory provisions should be complied with by fully implementing the CPS and states implementing the CPS without opening Retirement Benefit Bond Redemption fund accounts should do so, while states that have passed the Pension Reform Law and states at Bill stage should immediately join the scheme to enjoy the benefits as the CPS will facilitate the development of corporate bond market, the insurance market, the mortgage market as well as other markets that will be unique and beneficial to the Nigerian economy.
Going by the foregoing, CWAI therefore endorses the strict corporate governance practice put in place by management of Pencom, fit and proper persons’ requirement for pension funds management and disclosure requirements. CWAI passes a vote of confidence on the management under the leadership of Hajiya Aisha Dahiru-Umar for the current transformation taking place at the apex regulatory body and appealed to Nigerians and stakeholders to support Pencom in all its efforts to turn around the industry for the benefit of retirees and Nigerian workers.
Inspite of the enormous challenges facing the industry,reconsidering the management’s strategic awareness, enlightenment and sensitization campaign have created the much needed impetus for the boost of the industry as witnessed by all today growing in leaps and bond.
As a veritable institution to safeguard and regulate the pension industry in the country and lay a solid foundation for the prosperity and wellbeing of Nigerian workers, it has campaigned and canvassed for the strengthening of the PFAs, PFCs so as to bring about ethical realignments with the corporate objectives for the socio-economic growth in the country.
Conclusively, CWAI therefore commends the paradigm shift from the old to the new and applauds the gigantic development strides in the welfare of staff, development of critical infrastructural as well as transparent culture of pension assets adopted by the present management in keeping abreast of the pension industry globally.