Experts have lauded the Contributory Pension Scheme currently spearheaded by the National Pension Commission as the regulatory body.
According to them, the scheme has been adjudged the most transparent pension system in Nigeria’s history.
A former president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and the National Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Contributory Pension Scheme Sector, Comrade Silva Nwaiwu, stated this while speaking on a national TV programme yesterday in Abuja.
Expressing his disapproval for the exemption of permanent secretaries, heads of service, Accountants General of the Federation and other top government functionaries, Comrade Kaigama recalled that when in 2004 the Obasanjo administration enacted the Pension Reform Act (PRA), it was to address the problem bedevilling the pension system then.
He observed that 18 years down the line, the CPS has accumulated over N14 trillion. “This N14 trillion has been plunged into less risky portfolios. It develops the Nigerian economy. There is no system that might not have one or two problems,” he said.
Comrade Kaigama pointed out that Section 5(1)(a) of the PRA 2014 was derived from Section 291 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended, which clearly exempts only the military, intelligence and secret service. Section 5 (1)(b) of the PRA 2014 exempted public servants who had three years or less to retire as at 2004 when the CPS was implemented.
“This is a system that is well novel, but very laudable. I have never seen a system in this country that is as transparent as the CPS. The only problem we have is the employers. The employee’s portion of the contribution is being deducted at source and remitted. Some employers don’t remit their own. That’s where we have a problem,” he said.
Justifying why the federal government should not grant further exemptions to the CPS, Comrade Kaigama said yearly budgetary allocations for the payment of pension and retirement benefits are huge.
He said the federal government proposed to spend N577 billion on payments of pension and gratuities in 2022 alone and exempting any government agency will further increase government’s annual budgets for pension and gratuities.
“Sometimes, some of the budgetary provisions are not funded. If the budget is not funded 100%, those you want to dole out N577 billion will not get it. That is why we are saying the CPS is more stable. You can predict it,” he said.
On automation of services to ease access to retirement benefits, Comrade Kaigama said, “Before now, you will go from table to table when you retire, but now you don’t have to go to any desk. Only your details are needed and your retirement benefits are process.
“What we are saying to government is keep paying accrued rights and keep contributing your portion of the pension monthly as the employee contributes monthly.”
Similarly, the National Chairman of Nigeria Union of Contributory Pension Scheme Sector, Comrade Silva Nwaiwu, said the CPS is transparent and should be embraced by every responsible government.
“There is nothing wrong with the CPS. Any transparent government anywhere in the world will buy into it. The security of funds is very tight and very transparent,” he said.