Nigeria: 9.21m Nigerian Workers Join New Pension Scheme

No fewer than 9.21 million Nigerian workers in the public and private sectors have so far joined the new pension scheme, also known as Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS), LEADERSHIP Sunday can now reveal.

This is even as the labour is set to use its meeting with the federal government today to also deliberate on the outstanding pensions at the federal and state levels.

Document obtained from the National Pension Commission Investigation showed that about 50.9 per cent of the Retirement Savings Account(RSA) account holders were workers in the public sector, while the remaining 49.1 per cent were from the private sector.

As at the end of November, 2020, 9.19million workers had joined the new scheme in the last 16 years, precisely, from 2004, when the scheme berthed. However, 17,000 new workers joined in the month of December, 2020 to take the figure to 9.215 million subscribers.

This, according to market observers, shows the confidence workers are beginning to have in the new pension scheme, which, since inception, has recorded no mismanagement of funds.

While the pension funds asset rose significantly from a deficit of N2 trillion in 2004 to N12.29 trillion as at the end of December , 2020, translating to about N800 billion annual growth, it has also created a base for national savings of which the pension fund operators had invested about 70 per cent of the funds in federal government securities.

This, therefore, allowed the government to continue to perform its civic responsibilities unabated.

Investment income which is now is excess of N2.2 trillion, according to LEADERSHIP investigation, was instrumental to the continuous growth in pension funds, despite the fact that governments at majorly, State level are not paying the monthly pension contributions of their workers as and when due.

Similarly, the huge increase, according to findings, was attributed to new pension contributions received, interest from fixed income securities and net realised on equities and mutual fund investments.

Meanwhile, a document obtained from the National Pension Commission(PenCom) by LEADERSHIP, over the weekend, shows that contributions and trade continued on a growth trajectory, as the pension fund managers, spread their assets under management across approved investments portfolios.

The Pension Fund Administrators(PFAs) as at the end of December, had invested N8.13 trillion in federal government’s securities.

A breakdown of the fund showed that out of the N8.13 trillion invested in FGN Securities, FGN Bonds got N6.83 trillion; Treasury Bills N628.22 billion; Agency Bonds N9.49 billion; Sukuk N646.93 billion and Green Bonds N13.05 billion.

Domestic Ordinary Shares got N858.46 billion; Foreign Ordinary Shares N92.92 billion; State Government Securities N136.59 billion; Corporate Debt Securities N836.34 billion; Local Money Market Securities N1.69 trillion; Foreign money market, N18.69 billion; Infrastructure Funds N66.43 billion; Bank Placements, N1.53 trillion; Commercial Papers, N156.69 billion and Cash and Other Assets N122.79 billion.

The director general, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Umar, has consistently said, the commission will continue to initiate policies that will further deepens pension penetration by persuading more states of the federation as well as private sector players to join the new pension scheme.

The continuous increase in the number of pension contributors, she said, was a testimony and a show of confidence the pension industry has built over time, especially, in the management and administration of the huge pension funds asset in the country.

She urged companies that are yet to register their members under the new pension scheme to do so, as it is not only beneficial to the workers, but also shows the companies care about the future of its workers.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has said it will also utilise the meeting called by the federal government with the labour to discuss fuel and electricity hike, to raise the issue of outstanding pensions

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