FROM ISAAC ANUMIHE, ABUJA
Following huge infractions in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), the Federal Government said it is reviewing the Pension Act to strengthen penalties against criminal diversion of pension assets.
The details of the sanctions are contained in the new act, which will soon be made public.
Speaking at the Sensitisation Conference on Pension Commission in Abuja, the Director General of National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu- Amazu, said in addition to that, the Pension Reform Act, 2014 will also review upward, the minimum rate of pension contribution. The Act will make it possible for individuals who desire the service to participate and those who seek to own their primary homes, to apply part of their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) balances as equity contribution for residential mortgage, subject to the guidelines issued by the commission.
“The process of issuing these guidelines is already at advanced stages and it is our expectation that as soon as implemented, this development would assist in bridging the housing deficit in Nigeria,” she said.
Anohu-Amazu noted that contributory pension scheme would soon be introduced in states and local governments. This, she said, is equally contained in the 2014 Act. The Act will set a standard, which the state governments are required to comply with for the benefit of their employees.
“The 2014 Act has made provisions for voluntary participation in the CPS, thereby paving way for coverage of the informal sector. This is intended at extending the benefits of CPS to a wider horizon of labour in the Nigerian economy. Another development ushered in by the PRA 2014 is that the new Act clearly outlined the responsibilities of other government institutions in the implementation of the CPS and the administration of the defunct Defined Benefits Scheme.
“Thus, public sector challenges under the CPS, which were encountered during the last 10 years in the areas of remittance of pension contributions, funding of the retirement benefits bond redemption fund account, duration and adequacy of monthly pensions for public servants, periodic pension review, the funding of pension entitlements for professors and political office holders, are some of the issues to be addressed by relevant government agencies by virtue of the PRA 2014,” he said.
Source : SunOnline