The calendar since Nigeria adopted the contributory pension scheme (CPS) in 2004 has been counting, but the speed of days since the establishing Pension Reform Act 2004 ,has not been matched with the speed of compliance and pension experts are urging employers, private and public sectors to adopt the scheme for their workers.
The experts, who spoke during a virtual training organised by the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) for members of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents (NAIPCO), said employers should not stop at registering for the scheme but remit workers monthly contributions as at when due.
As a facilitator of the Financial Reporting training, Omagbitse Barrow, noting the key areas in the pension system: compliance, contributions, investment, service support and withdrawal, said pension contributions could be grown by legal and ethical ways. He wants contributors to grow their businesses by working smarter with higher returns, challenging their capacity with a focus to improve and make more contributions. This he said, makes the difference between the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) currently being towed to the pension archives until the last man dies and the CPS.
Satisfied with the investment guidelines, Barrow said the guidelines were designed to make pension funds as liquid as possible when the contributors will be retiring. On withdrawal, which he regarded as very important said it is where the CPS effectiveness is tested if it is really working. He said this is the point emotions flare and journalist have a responsibility to check the mode of retiring contributors and pension operators to avoid being in the web of any pension stakeholder who play their motives without consideration for what the CPS permits: annuity or programmed withdrawal.
Still building on enhanced understanding of pension operations, the CEO of PenOp, Oguche Agudah, said all stakeholders need a full grasp of how the pension industry works.
He said: “People are very emotional when it comes to their pensions. Any chance or story about their pensions getting lost, stolen, embezzled, or loosing value causes a lot of negative emotions amongst contributors.”
Agudah added that pensions and investments are technical issues, and journalist “have a responsibility to break down salient aspects of the scheme and pensions in simple, easy to read and understandable language.”