By Ochai Sunday (Abuja)
Hajiya Aisha Dahir-Umar, Pencom DG
The Citizens Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI), a civil society organization, pro-democracy and anti-corruption group, recently bestowed on the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Hajiya Aisha Dahir-Umar, the award of “The Most Outstanding and Distinguished Director-General of the Decade in Nigeria.”
According to the CSO, this decision was arrived at due to her bold initiatives in the turn-around of the pension industry by the repositioning and rebranding of the regulatory body to meet with international best practices; the quantum turnaround of the pension administration in Nigeria which has attracted rating agencies across the globe.
CWAI also acknowledged the good governance structure put in place by the current management at PenCom, including the restoration of citizens’ confidence as well as attracting of investors who are willing to invest in the industry due to the transformation taking place at the apex regulatory body.
In a press release issued by the Executive Secretary, Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele, CWAI said that the revolutionary transformation of the industry has become the envy of not only Nigeria, but the world over. It added that PenCom has become a benchmark for success and a reference point that is why investors, including our various Chief Executives of States are willing to invest in pension portfolios, at the same time eager to accept loans to better their investment at the state level.
CWAI attributed this to the fact that the present management under Hajiya Aisha Dahir-Umar has changed the narrative, shaped pinion within and outside the country, as well as conversations of the pension industry, due to her unique management style and sensitization on various media platforms and town hall meetings on industry ethics, standards and fund portfolios, not only for retirees but also for the Nigerian workers at large.
Accordingly, the release stated that CWAI has registered with great degree of satisfaction, the astronomical rise of pension assets in the country which has captured both the formal and informal sectors (micro-pension). The repositioning of the sector in building strong institutional culture for retirees, Nigerian workers and robust management of pension funds; prompt payment of pension to retirees; her motherly role that smoothened and advanced the regulatory body’s values and ethos.
CWAI has also acknowledged improved welfare packages for staff; commensurate capacity building and the good governance practices put in place as well as the accountable guidelines for the industry is also worthy of note. The CSO also emphasized a strong reformation on value chains and standards for policy formation of the industry and the restoration of citizens’ confidence like never before. All these, CWAI stated, was achieved due to the current Director-General’s capacity, forthrightness and selflessness to manage the industry to the benefits of Nigerians.
While responding, PenCom’s Legal Adviser/Company Secretary, Mr Mohammed Sani, who represented the Director-General at the award ceremony, thanked CWAI for bestowing the award on the DG as well as appreciated the present administration for giving them the enabling environment to work. He also thanked Nigerian workers who are daily contributing to the growth of the industry and pledged that PenCom will continue to do more in awareness campaign and sensitization so that Nigerians will be aware of the enormous benefits of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) which has attracted huge commendation from industry stakeholders and workers.
The Legal Adviser dedicated the award to the entire staff of PenCom for sacrificing their time for the good of all and said the award will continue to spur them to give their best at all times.
In conclusion, he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerian workers, without whom, he said PenCom and its personnel would not have been where they are today and appreciated the enormous support given to PenCom by this administration.