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Stakeholders Express Worry Over Reps Probe Of PenCom

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Stakeholders in the nation’s pension industry have expressed worries in the decision by the House of Representatives to probe the activities of the National Pension Commission since April 2017 till date appears.

While some of them see nothing wrong in a probe, they are worried that sensitive and confidential information on the industry would be exposed to the public, stressing that the move may harm rather than help the industry and cause unnecessary anxiety by pension contributors in Nigeria.

An ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives mandated to probe activities of the National Pension Commission (PenCOM) since April 2017 has sent tongues wagging on the exact motives and end game of the investigation.

The Committee headed by Hon. E.J. Agbonayinma, had in a letter to the Acting Director General of PenCom, Aisha Umar, dated January 21, requested confidential information on the Contributory Pension Fund, leading to speculation in the industry on why legislators would request information that breaches the law.

In the letter titled: “Request for Information,” the Committee asked PenCom to furnish it with sensitive information on its operations as well as the status of pension contributions in Retirement Savings Accounts, contrary to the provisions of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 which forbids the Commission and members of the Commission from disclosing such information.

Among the information requested by the legislative committee are “The Net Asset Values of the Contributory Pension Funds, details of supervision and regulations of Pension Fund Administrators and their key instructions and performances, compliances and defaults, annual pension operations of all the Pension Fund Administrators (i.e. details of amount collected from contributors and amount being paid out to retirees, from April 2017 till date).”

The Committee also requested for details of investment percentages and profits from the investment of pension funds, and details of the Federal Government contributions to the Federal Government bonds.

It also asked for the “contributions of retirement savings account holders to Pension Funds Administrators and details of payments from PenCom into the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA) and bank accounts details operated by the Commission” It also requested the PenCom to respond to the request urgently.

Many industry stakeholders who spoke to reporters off-the-record on the planned investigation of PenCom by the House wondered why the lawmakers would ask the Commission to breach the pension law by divulging sensitive and confidential information about contributions of retirement savings account holders.

Meanwhile, there are no proofs whether PenCom intends to provide the information requested to the Committee or not. But a member of the Committee contacted said the Commission was yet to respond to their request.

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