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Economy

Pension Practitioners Beg FG, States to Settle N400bn CPS Debt

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pension assets

By Adedapo Adesanya  

The Association of Pension Desk Practitioners of Nigeria (ASSOPEP) has appealed to federal and state governments to pay over N400 billion owed to pensioners under the Contributory Pensions Scheme (CPS).

The pension practitioners made the call at the end of its 6th annual pensions conference held in Abuja over the weekend.

Speaking at the event, Mr Chris Egbu, Registrar of ASSOPEP, said that the payment would ensure full implementation of the Pension Reform Act 2014.

According to Mr Egbu, the association frowns at states’ and Federal Capital Territory’s partial compliance with the Act.

He noted that non-remittance of monthly deductions into workers’ Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) and shortfall in remittances deprived workers returns on monies that would have been invested by their Pension Funds Administrators.

Mr Egbu added that it was more worrisome that some states and private sector organisations paid only employees’ deductions without remitting their own (employers’) 10 per cent into the RSAs of their employees.

“A situation whereby a total of 3.5 million RSAs were irregularly funded in 2020, as monthly pension contributions were either made occasionally or not made at all, is unacceptable.

“Majority of these irregularly funded accounts belong to employees of state governments and private sector organisations.

“This means that more than 3.5 million employees may have little or nothing to collect upon retirement,’’ he said.

Mr Egbu, however, commended the National Pension Commission (PenCom) for making recoveries of N18.27 billion from 2012 to Dec. 31 2020 from the trapped funds.

He said the figure represented principal contributions of N9.43 billion and penalties of N8.84 billion.

“About 30 states are without valid group insurance for employees, contrary to the provisions of the Act.

“This conference recommends that employees and their unions should be interested in checking their retirement savings account regularly to ensure that their monthly deductions are credited.

“A situation where about 5.1 million RSAs had incomplete documentation as of 2020 means that these people will not have easy access to their funds upon retirement,’’ Mr Egbu stressed.

Also speaking at the event, a member of the Board of Trustees, ASSOPEP, Mr Adeola Oloyede, called on workers to prepare for their retirement while in employment through regular voluntary savings and investment.

He also admonished workers not to invest their hard-earned money in businesses in which they did not have a proper understanding of or relevant skills.

“Many have lost their hard-earned money to Ponzi schemes,” Mr Oloyede cautioned.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Ellah Lakes, Enugu Government Seal Rice Processing Deal

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Ellah Lakes

By Dipo Olowookere

A Nigerian agribusiness company, Ellah Lakes Plc, has sealed an agreement with the Enugu State government for the processing of rice aimed to improve food security in the state and the nation at large.

The chief executive of the firm, Mr Chuka Mordi, described the deal as “a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base.”

Ellah Lakes said in a statement that with the partnership, it will transform the Ada Rice Company and Plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State.

This is expected to create not less than 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months as the company will have the opportunity to establish a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

Business Post reports that Adani community is well-known for the cultivation and production of rice but due to poor infrastructure and support of the government, it has suffered low patronage.

This partnership between the Enugu State government and Ellah Lakes should change the narrative for good and boost local production of rice.

In the statement issued on Wednesday by Ellah Lakes, a company listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, work is scheduled to begin immediately in Adani.

“Ellah Lakes is happy to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Enugu State Government, through the Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, for the expansion and further development of the Ada Rice Company and plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State, Nigeria.

“Ellah Lakes will produce and process rice with the participation of over 200 indigenous farmers in the local out-grower program. Ellah Lakes will also develop a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

“The development is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months, and work is scheduled to begin immediately,” a part of the statement disclosed.

“This is a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base, and we are very excited to be working with the Enugu State Government.

“We are very pleased with this collaboration with the very progressive government of Enugu State. For us, this is the beginning of a great journey to expand the industrial base of the state, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture,” Mr Mordi was quoted as saying.

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Economy

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Rewards Customers

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Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers scheme

Ahead of the festive season, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Nigeria’s largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), has unveiled the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Loyalty Program tagged Umatter.

It is a reward scheme targeted at the customers of the PFA, to reward them for their loyalty and patronage through exclusive discounts as they shop with their e-loyalty card.

The loyalty program is available at the PFA’s partner merchants’ locations and stores across the nation. It is aimed at providing Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ customers with exciting shopping discounts to help them spend less and save more when they shop.

Some of the participating merchant outlets are Maybrands, Café Royale, Hubmart Stores, Chocolate Royal, La Campagne Tropicana, Physio Centers of Africa, Medplus, iStore, Oriki, Launderland and Active Leisure.  The discounts range from 5 to 12 per cent on products and services purchased.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ partnerships with these major outlets will enable customers to seamlessly enjoy instant discounts on their purchases during this festive period, thereby making life even more easy and affordable for customers who use the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers e-loyalty card.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers will continue to initiate valuable programs like this that encourage people to continue saving for their retirement and building their financial future.

New and existing customers can be a part of this exciting loyalty program by visiting www.stanbicibtcpension.com or calling 01 271 6000.

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Economy

FG to Inject N381trn into Economy to Create Job, Tackle Poverty

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Nigeria Economy challenges

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to inject N381 trillion into the economy to cushion the growing rate of poverty, job losses and economic degradation in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, during a media interaction with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos.

Mr Ari said the federal government came up with a 5-year National Development Plan tied around the sum of money to be able to achieve this aim.

He said the plan will replace the initial Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP).

According to him: “The plan, which projects the creation of 21 million jobs, with 35 million Nigerians lifted out of poverty, affordable housing for Nigerians and an export-led economy among others, is expected to cost N381 trillion to implement and have six focal areas of economic growth and development, infrastructure, public administration, human capital development, social development and regional development.

“As the leading human capital development institution in Nigeria, we have commenced the process of repositioning our programmes and activities to effectively prepare the Nation’s workforce in line with our mandate of developing a pool of qualified Nigerians to man the public and private sectors of the national economy as we believe that for this plan to succeed, all Nigerians as individual citizens and as institutions must contribute their bit.

“You will recall that on the assumption of office in 2016, the economy was in recession leading to massive job losses and corresponding increases in poverty.

“Our initiatives then particularly the emphasis on skills intervention programmes was borne out of the need to drive the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), which we achieved to an appreciable degree by training hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or even employers of labour,” Mr Ari said.

He, however, lauded the media for a robust coverage of the Funds activities over the years, saying that the media has been critical in return of peace in the state.

“Beyond this, fora such as we are holding today have been critical to the return of peace in plateau state, thereby creating the necessary environment for our organisation to thrive especially within the last five years on account of your professionalism and determined efforts to rise above sensationalism, headline-grabbing and petty politics,” Mr Ari said.

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