The National Pension Commission (PenCom), has set for itself a vision to be a world-class organisation that ensures the prompt payment of retirement benefits, promotes a sustainable pension industry and positively impact on the economic development of Nigeria. PenCom has also adapted itself to ways of pursuing its mandate. With its team of highly skilled and motivated staff utilising appropriate technology, it has demonstrated a commitment to be an effective regulator that ensures the safety of pension assets as well as a fair return on investment. Stakeholders interpret the ongoing steps towards internal reforms, increased professionalism and transparency of the whole process, as a welcome development.
Consolidating on attained gains, the commission’s drive towards capacity building, strengthening of pension fund administrators and custodians has immensely assisted it in the efforts to receive, investigate and analyse complaints on any issue relating to pension fund management.
It is accepted globally that the foremost consideration of most workers is the inexorable guarantee that their pension savings are secure. Nothing will be more nerve-racking for pensioners than to be pushed around when they, in the order of things, decide to take a deserved rest. Pencom, in our opinion, was set up to ensure that senior citizens get the rest they deserve after labouring in their youth to build the nation. The average Nigerian pensioner has only one interest– to see that dependable and trusted management is at the helms of the commission’s affairs. The most essential asset in any pension operation is the element of trust. In its pursuit of this goal, PenCom has recorded some successes which have in turn earned for it global respect as the supervisory custodian of the life-saving assets of pensioners. It is no surprise therefore that there is an outpouring of confidence on it by its numerous publics based on the competence and honesty of its management.
In our opinion, the structures PenCom has set up for the smooth commencement of the Micro Pension Scheme is highly commendable. The scheme which seeks to encourage people without regular income to establish a culture of savings is intended to ingrain in the mind of those low income earners the consciousness that they do not have to eat the seedlings too. Such small business owners as barbers, taxi drivers and low income market women will be offered special flexibility facilities that will allow them early withdrawals to meet with exigent needs especially for reinvestments in and expansion of their enterprises.
Observers of the operation of the industry are keenly watching PenCom’s comprehensive preparation and campaign to ensure widespread registration and collections as well as attractive structured payments of benefits as envisaged under the scheme. This will, in our view, bouy the commission as it strives to sustain its determined effort to regenerate trust in its statutory regulatory and supervisory roles and engender for it, as an agency, signs of increased public confidence.
This positive attitude on the part of the pension regulator has started manifesting with the heart-warming results it is already registering. Within a short period, between March and December 2017, PenCom recorded an unprecedented growth of about 16 per cent– a leap from N 6.42 trillion to N 7.51 trillion. This positive consequence of the transparent and affirmative fidelity to the best practices of global pension management has additionally enhanced the population of contributors with an approximate 400,000 within a period of six months.
From every informed projection, the future of the pension industry under PenCom is formidably encouraging. It seems that the new management is prepared to usher in a new era of greater participation and understanding of the affairs of the regulatory agency as a way of building confidence and trust. The fiduciary duty of regulation, supervision and ensuring the effective administration of pension matters in Nigeria are too vital to the lives of millions of pensioners and the nation’s economy. The new management of PenCom must, therefore, embrace the historic obligation of its assignment with a sense of sacred patriotism and professionalism so as to keep the hopes and aspirations, especially of those who depend on the agency for their very survival, alive.
We are enamoured by the fact that the commission is abreast with this patriotic duty.
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