By Adedapo Adesanya
The Association of Pension Desk Practitioners of Nigeria (ASSOPEP) has called on the federal and state governments to pay more than 400 billion naira owed to retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
Pension practitioners made the call at the end of their 6th annual pension conference held in Abuja over the weekend.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Chris Egbu, registrar of ASSOPEP, said the payment would ensure full implementation of the 2014 pension reform law.
According to Egbu, the association disapproves of the states and the Federal Capital Territory’s partial compliance with the law.
He noted that the non-payment of monthly deductions from workers’ retirement savings accounts (RSA) and the shortfall deprives workers of money that would have been invested by their pension fund administrators.
Mr Egbu added that it was more worrying that some states and private sector organizations only pay employee deductions without paying their own (employers) 10 percent in their employees’ RSA.
“A situation where a total of 3.5 million RSA was irregularly funded in 2020, with monthly pension contributions either being paid occasionally or not at all, is unacceptable.
“The majority of these irregularly funded accounts are owned by employees of state governments and private sector organizations.
“This means that over 3.5 million employees may have little or nothing to collect upon retirement,” he said.
Mr Egbu, however, praised the National Pensions Commission (PenCom) for recovering N18.27 billion from 2012 to December 31, 2020 from the trick funds.
He said the figure represented the main contributions of 9.43 billion naira and penalties of 8.84 billion naira.
“About thirty States do not have valid collective insurance for employees, contrary to the provisions of the law.
“This conference recommends that employees and their unions be interested in regularly checking their retirement savings accounts to ensure that their monthly deductions are being credited.
“A situation where around 5.1 million RSA had incomplete documents as of 2020 means that these people will not have easy access to their funds in retirement,” said Mr. Egbu.
Also speaking at the event, ASSOPEP board member Mr. Adeola Oloyede called on workers to prepare for retirement while working through regular voluntary savings and investment.
He also warned workers not to invest their hard-earned money in companies in which they did not have a good understanding or relevant skills.
“Many have lost their hard-earned money to Ponzi schemes,” Oloyede warned.