Contributory pension fund hits N1.7 trillion, says official
THURSDAY, 15 JULY 2010 FROM COLLINS OLAYINKA
Contributions to the Nigerian contributory pension scheme has hits N1.7 trillion, the National Pension Commission (Pencom), has disclosed. The Head of Corporate, Strategies and Research of Pencom, Farouk Aminu, who revealed this yesterday, when a team of National Pensions Regulatory Authority of Ghana (NPRA) visited Trustfund Pensions Plc, in Abuja, yesterday, said the figure was achieved at the end of May, this year.
He added that, while the commission has been recording phenomenal growth in the quantum of money pooled into the scheme, ensuring compliance with the regulations by the actors still remains a challenge that the commission is still grappling with.Aminu said: “The total asset in the Nigerian pension industry as at the end of May this year stood at N1.7 trillion. Compliance with the regulations by the institution that are eligible to implement the scheme are not implementing it the way it should and then our other challenge is to identify those institutions that are not doing what they ought to do in order to enforce strict compliance to the regulations guiding contributory pension scheme in Nigeria.”
He also stated that Nigeria is presently offering technical assistance to Ghana in its bid to establish its own scheme.Aminu pointed out that “in 2005, a delegation from Ghana came to Nigeria to understudy our pension reform. This is the second visit now that they have a pension authority in place they came back to see how far we have implemented our own. The first visit was to see how we fashion out the reform processes and this second visit is meant to see the implementation processes.”
The Head of the Ghana delegation, who is also the Chairman of NPRA, Richard Kwame Asante, said he is relying on the experiences Nigeria has garnered since 2004 when it introduced contributory pension scheme, to succeed.His words: “We are looking at what Nigeria has done in its contributory pension scheme and what Ghana can learn from its experiences. Specifically we want to learn how pension administrators were licensed and the general rules that guide their activities and how we can adopt the same patterns. We also want to seek collaboration in the area of training with a view to moving contributory pension scheme in West Africa forward.”
Asante hinted that since inaugurated in September 2009, NPRA Ghana has about one million contributors but aimed to include the informal, which constitutes about 80 per cent of the Ghana’s workforce.“Ghana is not a big country in comparism with Nigeria. As at now we have about one million contributors to the scheme. The informal sector is not yet included but very soon we will have them coming on board. The informal sector in Ghana constitutes about 80 per cent of the entire work force.
“When we began our reform in 2005 we were here in Nigeria to learn how to proceed and there was also an agreement that we will come back when the scheme is about to begin the further seek how we can proceed and that inform our latest visit,” he stated.On his own part, the Managing Director of Trustfund Pensions, Bernard Ekwe, pledged the Pension Fund Administrator’s readiness to offer technical assistance to the delegation.He explained that the composition of Trustfund board members and similarities of both countries’ contributory pension schemes would make room for easy assimilation of the processes.
“There are a lot of similarities between the scheme that Ghana is running and what we are running here. In order words, what both countries are running is the contributory pension scheme and like Nigeria they also have legacies contribution of the past like the Nigeria social insurance scheme. To that extent, there are a lot of transitional lessons they may want to draw from Nigeria,” Ekwe added.