By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria’s largest pension fund administrator (PFA), Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited, has described as fundamental the role of employers in the country’s nascent Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), a status that obligates them to highlight the importance and value of pension provision among their employees.
Speaking during an employers’ forum organized by the PFA in Enugu, which held on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, participants, drawn from employer-organizations spanning both the private and public sectors, including governments, parastatals, ministries, companies, and universities, among others, noted that such stakeholder engagements will help to boost enrolment and strengthen the pension industry in Nigeria.
This was as employers of labour in Nigeria’s South East geo-political zone commended the PFA for its resolute commitment to enhancing awareness about the CPS and its enormous benefits to Nigerians and the economy.
In his welcome address, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited, Mr Eric Fajemisin, said the PFA is keen about having the over 73 million employed Nigerians enrolled in the CPS to enable them benefit from its provisions, especially to plan for retirement, which is inevitable.
Mr Fajemisin, who was represented by the Executive Director, Operations, Mr Steve Elusope, said the role of employers in the success of the scheme is pivotal as the Pension Reform Act specifically mandates them to help their workers have retirement plans through the opening of retirement savings accounts, funding of those accounts and regular remittance of their pension contributions.
“There is a clear need to ensure the rapid growth of the Contributory Pension Scheme by increasing its uptake by Nigerians. Latest figures from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics showed that the country has 73.4 million working Nigerians.
“Of this number only about 10% (7.3 million) are captured in the CPS. This forum is designed to bring together employers and pension experts where knowledge and information can be shared on the pension business and how to increase participation in the scheme,” Mr Fajemisin said.
The employers’ forum, titled Partnering to Deliver Excellent Pension Administration Services, will be held in eight cities across the country this year. The first edition held in Benin, Edo state on 23 March 2017.
The initiative was launched in 2014 as a platform to engage with employers, as a crucial anchor of the nascent pension scheme, to sign up to the CPS.
This year’s forum is focusing on derivable benefits of participation in the pension scheme; safeguards put in place to protect pension funds; expected participants in the pension scheme; ways to enhance collaborations to move Nigeria’s pension industry forward; the role of an employer/employee in the Contributory Pension Scheme; the challenges and the opportunities in the pension industry; and how pension assets can be deployed to support sustainable development in the country.
Other equally important issues examined are contributors’ access to their RSAs, claims processing, withdrawal from the pension scheme, and returns on investment on pension funds, annuity and regulatory oversight, among others.
Head, Computation & Remittance, National Pension Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Usman, who described the session as a positive experience, said the defined contribution accounts as defined in the PRA 2014 has become a very important income source for post-retirement comfort which must be embraced by all. He said the industry regulator has introduced numerous measures to enhance participation in the scheme, including establishment of regional offices to receive inquiries and other pertinent issues.
Also, Head, Business Development, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited, Mrs Nike Bajomo, said the PFA’s significant breadth of knowledge in the market, backed by the expertise and experience of Stanbic IBTC Group, a member of the over 153-year-old Standard Bank Group, will remain instrumental in delivering value-driven services to clients. Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited, she said, has over 1.5 million retirement savings account holders nationwide, with assets under management in excess of N1.88 trillion. It pays approximately N1.8 billion to over 44,000 retirees monthly and over N261 billion has been paid to retirees since the PFA commenced operations in 2006.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited is a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of Standard Bank Group, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars-Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Standard Bank Group is the largest African financial institution by assets and earnings. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent.
Standard Bank has been in operation for over 153 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services organisations in chosen countries in Africa and connecting other selected emerging markets to Africa and to each other, applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, globally.
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