The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association on Thursday hailed the National Pension Commission for the proactive manner in which the commission is implementing the Pension Reforms Act of 2014.
The association stated that the Commission has made life after retirement enjoyable for Retirement Savings Account holders under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
The Director-General of NECA, Mr Adewale Smatt Oyerinde said these at the opening session of the PenCom/NECA interactive session on the Contributory Pension Scheme for the Organized Private Sector.
The objectives of the interactive session which was held in Abuja include enlightening the OPS on the workings of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), sharing thoughts on emerging developments in the Nigerian pension space and providing an opportunity for Pension Operators to interact with the members of the OPS among others.
He said before 2014, life after was uncertain and unpredictable, adding that with the Pension Reform Act 2014, the narration has changed significantly.
He pledged the association’s support to PenCom in growing the pension industry in Nigeria, adding that this is one of the viable ways to further develop the Nigerian economy.
The NECA Boss said, “Before 2014, life after retirement could be described as uncertain and unpredictable. However, with the Pension Reform Act 2014, the narration has changed significantly.
“Significantly because no matter the efforts put into a system or process, there will always be room for improvement. Thus, following the enactment of the Act and with successive PenCom leadership, we have had series of improvements and innovation in the administration of the Pension Scheme.
“The Private sector remain committed to the success of the Pension Scheme as long as our concerns are not only noted but also addressed expeditiously.”
In her opening remarks at the event, the Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar commended NECA for offering its platform for continuous social dialogue with the members of the OPS on the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme in Nigeria.
These social dialogues, according to her, have generated an invaluable impact on the implementation of the CPS over the years.
The PenCom DG described the pension industry as one of the fastest-growing financial sectors in Nigeria, adding that at the end of the third quarter of 2023, the number of RSAs under the CPS stood at 10 million and the size of the pension Asset Under Management amounted to N16.76 trillion.
She said, “The Commission has continued to take giant strides towards ensuring the smooth implementation of the CPS through the revision of existing regulations and guidelines and the development of new ones.
“Specifically, the Commission deployed the Enhanced Contributors Registration System (ECRS) for the pension industry. Following, the deployment of the ECRS, the Commission also introduced the Data Recapture Exercise (DRE), which mandatorily requires all RSA holders who joined the CPS prior to the 1st of July 2019 to update their information with their respective Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
“Accordingly, the Commission has consistently urged RSA holders to approach their PFAs for Data Recapture.”
In order to facilitate the implementation of Section 13 of the PRA 2014 which allows an RSA holder to transfer his/her RSA from one PFA to another at least once in a year, Dahir-Umar explained that the Commission developed and deployed the RSA Transfer System (RTS) in 2020.
The RTS is a computer-based application for initiating, processing, and monitoring the RSA Transfer process.
It also ensures the seamless transfer of RSAs from one PFA to another. Among others, the PenCom DG said the opening of the RSA transfer window has continued to improve the quality of service delivery by the PFAs.
To ensure that RSA holders own a house during their work life, the Commission, she added has released the Guidelines on Accessing Retirement Savings Account (RSA) Balance towards Payment of Equity Contribution for Residential Mortgage by RSA Holders.
She said, “Members of the OPS would recall that following the enactment of the PRA, the Commission was saddled with the responsibility of supervising the transfer of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) contributions of employees into their respective RSAs under the CPS.
“To date, contributions worth N10.20 billion have been transferred to the RSAs of 142,486 NSITF Scheme contributors. Thus, in order to ensure that all contributors under the NSITF Scheme have their NSITF contributions transferred to their RSAs, the Commission had severally featured advertorials in National Dailies requesting NSITF contributors to apply for the transfer of their contributions.
“The Commission wishes to implore all employers to encourage their employees who have contributed to the NSITF Scheme to liaise with their PFAs and in particular Trustfund Pensions for guidance on how to have their contributions transferred to their RSAs.”
She added that the Commission will always support NECA to champion programmes that will ensure the successful implementation of the CPS in Nigeria.