A total sum of N16 billion unremitted pension contributions have been recovered from various employers of labour in the last seven years, the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) has said.
The Commission also revealed that pension assets base has risen to N9.33 trillion as at the end of June 2019, adding that 8.72 million contributors were registered with the commission across the country.
Speaking at a one-day interactive session organised by Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and PENCOM in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, the acting Director-General (DG) of the Commission, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, attributed the success recorded by PENCOM to the collaborative efforts between the organised private sector and labour.
Mrs Dahir-Umar, who was represented by Mr. Salihu Bwala, spoke on the topic “Current Developments and Challenges in the Implementation of the Pension Reform Act 2014.”
The acting DG stated that the Pension assets, which were N7.44 trillion in January, 2019, rose to over N9 trillion within five months.
She thanked the organised private sector and labour for the feat.
“The pension industry is one of the fastest growing industry in the country with the support of the organised private sector and labour. The contributory pension scheme plan currently has over N9 trillion pension assets, this feat could not have been achieved without the support of the organised private sector.
“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari officially launched the micro-pension plan in March 2019 and remittance of contributions have since commenced,” Mrs Dahir-Umar said.
She said the commission had developed a software application that had tackled the problem of multiple registrations and urged employers to encourage their employees to make themselves available to their respective pension administrators for data recapture and regularisation.
“The commission recently developed a robust application to enhance contribution registration system for the pension industry, the application has been deployed and pension practitioners are currently using it for new registration and recapture of data for contributors who previously had retirement savings accounts.
“The application is linked to the national identity management commission and would assist in addressing issues of multiple registrations in the database of pension funds administrators.
“Accordingly, all employers are asked to encourage their employees to present themselves to their respective pension administrators for recapture,” she said.
Speaking on the topic, ” The Challenges of Compliance and The Way Forward: PenCom Guidelines, one of the resource persons at the event, Mr. Demi Mokikan, said the over N16 billion debts recovered comprised of principal contribution and not less than 2% penalty/fines slammed on employers who failed to remit their employees 8% contributions which they deducted at source and the employee mandatory 10%, seven days after the payment of staff salaries.
Mokikan noted that the contributions/debt recovery drive began in July 2012 and has yielded good results with the amount so far recovered.
He said the 2% fine was used to assuage the lost interest of the contributors within the period their contributions were not remitted.
The Director –General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, urged employers in the country to comply with the 2014 Reformed Pension Act.
“We are calling on employers of labour to ensure that they become corporate responsible citizens by complying with provisions of the law especially with regards of the pension scheme.
“One of the ways employers can engender productivity, which is important for business profitability, is by taking the welfare of the workers a top priority and contributing to their pension which takes care of the worker’s welfare at work and after (work) life,” Olawale said.