Deepening financial inclusion among drivers of Nigeria’s micro pension —PenCom

Nigeria’s Pension Industry regulator, the National Pension Commission (PenCom), has said that deepening financial inclusion in the country is one major area to drive Micro Pension scheme.

It therefore listed other existing  opportunities to drive Nigeria’s micro pension coverage. They are : the country’s young population, Mobile penetration and informal sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) among others.

Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar, Director General, PenCom, made the disclosures at the 2019 Journalist Workshop, with the theme, “Expanding Coverage of the Pension Industry” organised by the commission in Benin, Edo State.

Dahir-Umar, represented by Mr Kunle Odebiyi, Head, Micro Pensions Department, PenCom, noted that the Pension Fund Assets (PFAs) has witnessed a huge growth over the years.

She explained that the growth indeed justified the commission’s emphasis on the safety of pension funds as the bedrock of sustaining the Contributory Pension Scheme(CPS).

The PenCom boss assured stakeholders that the pension reform remains steadily on course.

“We have remained focused on concluding some of the pension industry’s transformational initiatives which the commission has been pursuing.

“These modest milestones, notwithstanding, the commission and pension operators are committed to actualising the growth potentials of the industry.

“The theme of this workshop describes the commission’s current strategic focus, which aims to expand access to pension via the CPS, as a veritable tool for economic development,”she said.

According to her, the CPS aligns with the pension reform objective of old age poverty reduction and improvement in the welfare and general standard of living.

The Director-General emphasised that the quest to expand coverage of pension was been pursued through some transformational initiatives especially the Micro Pension Plan (MPP), launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in March.

She explained that the MPP, targeted at the informal sector and self-employed was designed with significant flexibility in recognition of the peculiarities of the targeted population.

“It is our expectation that the media practitioners will utilise the opportunity of this workshop to understand the essence and workings of the MPP and amplify same in their reportage for the overall benefit of Nigerians,”she said.

On the integrity of the PenCom database,  Dahir-Umar said the commission had developed an in-house ICT application in June called the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS) in ensuring personal details of participants are safe.

She also said the ECRS had also been integrated with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) database to help authenticate the uniqueness of individuals seeking to register under the CPS.

“The ECRS provides a platform for the registration of MPP and is a major step towards the introduction of the transfer window.

“This will enable contributors change to the PFAs of their choice, in line with Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014,”she said.

The Director-General, however, lauded the media for collaborating with the commission in ensuring effectively report and advance public awareness on the tenets of the CPS and the successes recorded over the years.

She said, “we are committed to sustaining this worthy collaboration in the overall interest of pension contributors and retirees.”

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