The National Pension Commission says it is targeting no fewer than 30 million Nigerians in its Micro Pension Plan within the next five years.
The Head of Corporate Communications Department of the commission, Peter Aghahowa, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Wednesday at the ongoing Enugu International Trade Fair.
Aghahowa was represented by the Assistant General Manager, Corporate Communications Department, Carol Alex-Uzomah.
The News agency of Nigeria reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 28 launched the MPP for self-employed persons in the informal sector.
Aghahowa said that the move was to assuage the yearnings of the categories of workers by ensuring financial inclusion in the sector.
According to him, the scheme would cover all manner of self-employed people including artisans, petty traders, water sellers and many more.
He said: “The plan which is an initiative of the PenCom is aimed at the provision of pension services to self-employed persons in the informal sector and employees of organisations with less than 3 staff.
“The informal sector constitutes an estimated 69 million work force in the country and represents an estimated 88 per cent of Nigerian workers that lack pensions and safety nets for their old age.
“The goal of the commission is to achieve coverage of 30 million people in the informal sector by 2024.”
Aghahowa said that they were at the trade fair to sensitise members of the informal sector including artisans on the new initiative.
He appealed to prospective beneficiaries to take advantage of the MPP to safeguard their future, adding that there would always be life after active service years.
He said that they were rolling out the necessary information across all platforms to ensure that the message of financial inclusion in the informal sector got to the intended audience.
He said: “Our plan is to take the message to all the remote areas in the next couple of months.
“Those working in the informal sector need to enroll in order to enjoy the benefits of the Contributory Pension Scheme.”
Aghahowa said that enrollees would have the liberty to access up to 40 per cent of their contributions any time they wished provided that they had contributed for at least three months.
He said: “Part of the documentation would require enrollees to provide information on their next-of-kin in case of any eventuality.”
Aghahowa assured that there would be no form of scandal in the scheme as adequate safeguard had been put in place to protect contributions made by enrollees.
He added: “There are adequate safeguards in the scheme starting from the regulators, custodians and pension funds administrators and we all have our different roles to play.
“So there are no challenges of safeguarding funds.”