The Micro Pension Scheme will begin in earnest in the first quarter of 2019, the Director-General, National Pension Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said on Tuesday.
Dahir-Umar made the disclosure at the sixth conference organised for pension directors by the commission in Lagos.
She said that the scheme was delayed due to hitches encountered in the Information and Communication Technology.
The director-general, however, affirmed that the hitches would be sorted out latest by the end of September for the scheme to kick off fully in the first quarter of 2019.
She said: “The commission believes that the scheme will be part of the efforts toward ensuring the long term and sustainability of the Federal Government’s social empowerment programme.”
The PenCom chief also said that the guidelines for the scheme had been approved by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
On the pension scheme challenges, the PenCom director-general said that there was increased clamour by pension contributors to redirect their retirement savings.
She explained that the clamour was redirection of the N8.5 trillion pension assets toward the resolution of other social problems such as health, unemployment and other similar challenges.
Dahir-Umar said that 2017 was particularly difficult for the industry as the commission had to contend with several bills before the National Assembly seeking to distort or dismantle the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“Our social partners played a critical role in that struggle, which we successfully surmounted.
“However, one of the important lessons learnt from that experience is the imperative of continuous stakeholders’ collaboration and engagement.
“The commission, therefore, believes that directors of operator companies must appreciate the critical importance of stakeholders’ collaboration and the need to give it the attention it deserves,” she said. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there are more than 100 pension practitioners at the conference, including insurance practitioners that sell annuity products.
Dahir-Umar further said that the conference was to keep pension practitioners abreast of the international best practices in global pension.
He said: “This year’s conference is the sixth in the series of such conferences introduced by the commission to constantly update members of the Boards of Directors of pension operator companies on topical issues in the industry.
“The conference is meant to sharpen operators’ capacity as the commission believes such will enhance the performance of the operators and protect the N8.5 trillion pension assets.
“As you are aware, the pension reform has been very impactful in Nigeria since the beginning of its implementation in 2004.
“The major visible areas of this impact are the economic and social spheres.”