BY ZAKA KHALIQ, Lagos
It has been a blame game between insurance companies allegedly owing N17.4 billion pension legacy fund and the Pension Transactional Arrangement Directorate(PTAD) who ought to have received the money for onward payment to retirees under the old pension scheme.
Experts have reported that the earlier the issue is resolved, the better for pension entitlements of those who retired with federal government under the old pension scheme, known as the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS).
Legacy fund is a pension investment in the hands of life insurance companies prior to the commencement of Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2004. This fund, by the Act that establishes CPS, is meant to be returned to PTAD for onward payment to retirees under the DBS.
Earlier, the Senate Committee on public accounts had summoned NICON Insurance Plc, AIICO Insurance and other insurance companies to appear before it, over their reported failure to remit N17.4 billion pension fund to PTAD, basing its summon on the 2016 report of the auditor general of the federation (AuGF), which unraveled the non-remittance of N17.4 billion fund to PTAD.
Speaking on this development recently while briefing the Senate, the executive secretary, PTAD, Dr. Chioma Ejikeme, said: “the bank certificate of balances, accounting statements, three years financial statements and policy files requested by the Federal Auditor were not handed over to PTAD by the concerned insurers at the time of consolidation.”
However, I spoke to sources in NICON Insurance, AIICO Insurance, LASACO Assurance, among others affected by the development, and they claimed they have settled their legacy funds with PTAD as far back as 2017, wondering why PTAD mentioned them in its briefing with the National Assembly.
In a chat with me, the group managing director/CEO, Peninscope Consulting, Mr. Peter Adediji, charged the regulatory bodies of both insurance and pension sectors to come to the rescue of the pensioners by intervening on the legacy fund issues, to ensure that it is amicably resolved.
To this end, the pension consultant called on the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to perform their civic responsibility in this matter, by calling PTAD and the concerned insurers to a stakeholders meeting to resolve the matter instead of taking it to the Senate.
“It is too petty to take such matter to the Senate when the senators have more pressing issues to attend to. The regulatory bodies need to intervene to allow the concerned retirees access to their pension entitlements,” he stressed.
He mentions that some of the concerned pensioners are currently going through tough times, charging the regulatory bodies to have a strategic meeting with the insurers and PTAD, to iron out the little details, in a bid to fast track the sale of assets some of them submitted to clear their legacy debt and convert to cash for onward payment to retirees.