The nation’s pension fund assets have hit N2.4 trillion, the National Pension Commission (Pencom) said yesterday.The amount grew by N110 billion over the N2.29 trillion recorded by the commission two months ago.
The commission attributed the growth to registration of more contributors as a result of greater compliance by employers.
The acting director general who is also the commissioner of admistration, Pencom, Mr. Manzuma Mamman, confirmed this yesterday in Abuja during a workshop for pension operators.
According to him, “We have assets under the contributory pension system of about N2.4 trillion. Those assets are either investible assets by the PFAs and are dictated by the investment guidelines of the national pension commission and a percentage of it is in what I call government securities for the purposes of first and foremost , safety. The issue of returns which is important is secondary to safety. So in the National pension commission the first thing is a safety”.
He said the commission was considering investing the funds in infrastructure development as well as opening investment windows abroad.
He said, “The commission gives guidelines on how the pension funds are going to be invested. There are two aspects to this, it is either we give guidelines on existing investible windows, or if there are windows that the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) or any other person brings to suggestion, then we evaluate it through what we call the regime of investment, that is crafting the rules, the regulation and when the pass through our tight regulations on investment, then they will be approved that pension could be invested in those areas.
“Presently, we have a couple of them we are looking at, and until it gets to the point where the commission is sure that the investment is safe, they will yield returns, then we approve. The areas under consideration include infrastructure, opening an investment window abroad”.
He continued that the workshop was put together to address the challenges facing the commission, in the areas of double digit inflation, and return of income which must be addressed in order to maintain safety in the industry.
He said, “The Commission recognized the importance of the board of each of their licensed PFAs because they are actually the engine room, and the vehicle for this industry. Because of that, the role of the directors in any organization is to draft policies and give directions towards the implementation of those policies. So we expect the directors of all the lincensed operators to have at the back of their mind, that their activities on the board will dictate the health and the wealth of the organisations on which they sit on the board”.
On ensuring safety in the industry, he disclosed that the commission recently sanctioned one of the PFAs who have slightly gone above their given portion of investment, nothing that intervening action has also be taken by putting in place interim management in the PFA.
“ of late we had reasons to take intervening action in one of the PFAs, were the director have did certain things that are against the corporate governance code of the PFA. We removed those directors from the board and also implemented what we call an intervention by putting in place an interim management for that PFA. The issues are in court”, he said.
Earlier, the chairman, Pencom, Mr. Oluwole Adeosun, stated that the conference seeks to address and find solution to the challenges facing the industr
“I believe the Auditor General may have been quoted out of context. We have been having good working relationship with the Auditor General Office as far back as 2005 when we started operations.
“The Commission has a copy of Auditor General’s Office Audit Reports 2006 to 2008 and that of external auditor up till 2009. We are awaiting the 2009 and 2010 Audit Reports that were completed by the Auditor General’s Office in March 2011.
“As at the time the Auditor General was quoted at the National Assembly as saying that the Commission was among the defaulting 41 agencies of the federal government, his staff were with us auditing our books.”
Amadi said he wrote the Auditor General on January 31, 2011, barely one month of assumption of office at the Commission, to expand the scope of audit work to cover both capital and recurrent expenditures with effect from last audit in 2009 to December 2010.
“As I indicated in my letter, the purpose of the request is to enable the Commission have a professional opinion of the Auditor General for the Federation on the state of affairs as to the reliability of the accounts and processes on both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the Commission.”
“A good way of obstructing audit process is not by requesting for expansion of audit. The Auditor General may have been quoted out of context and we are not interested in joining issues with a sister Federal Government agency, especially on this issue.”
He said that the Commission was up-to-date in its statutory reporting obligations, including quarterly reports to the National Assembly and the Presidency. “We are guided by higher commitment to public integrity,” Amadi said.