The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Pension, Hon. Hassan Shekarau, has pleaded with President Mohammadu Buhari to release the N66 billion needed to settle accrued backlog of pension for 2017 retirees.
Shekarau made the appeal at the opening of 2018 Conference for Directors of Pension Fund Administrators organised by the National Pension Commission on Tuesday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there are over 100 pension practitioners at the conference, including insurance practitioners that sell annuity products.
He applauded the introduction of Pension Reform Act of 2004 repealed by that of 2014 Act, saying the backlog needed to be settled to uphold the confidence of Nigerians in the pension scheme.
The lawmaker, however, said the president should be appreciated for releasing N54 billion in April 2017, to clear the backlog of accrued pension rights.
He said: “However, the money was only able to settle part of 2014, 2015 and 2016 accrued pension rights.”
Shekarau, who is representing Birnin-Gwari and Giwa Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, restated that the greatest challenge confronting pension administration was “Accrued Pension Rights”.
He said: “Also, it faces the five per cent increment on pension for retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme and 33 per cent increment on retirees Defined Benefit Scheme.
“I passionately appeal to the president to give priority to the debt and release the N66 billion estimate submitted by PenCom to settle the accrued rights obligation.”
Shekarau urged practitioners to ensure they strictly adhered to the resolutions reached at the conference, adding that any action outside international best practices for pension operators in Nigeria would not be accepted.
Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, commended PenCom for sustaining the country’s pension landscape.
He explained that the reason the Federal Government was attracted to the N8.3 trillion pension assets was because there wasn’t any other domiciled fund available.
Paulker said: “We should know that there is no other domiciled fund anywhere in this country except the N8.3 trillion pension assets.
“If such an amount is deposited in fixed account or used to buy Treasury Bills, we know the interest it will generate.”
He added that contributors were also interested in their contributions.
The Senator admonished pension operators to synigise with PenCom in enlightening the citizens on the workings of the pension scheme.
He said: “Everyday many people come to my office to ask questions on pension, there is need to intensify publicity on the issue.”