By Favour Nnabugwu
National Pension Commission, PenCom, has said the one of main focus of the Commission is the strategic efforts to drive the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) as PenCom sensitise Civil Society Groups, CSGs, on Micro-Pension Plan, MPP.
The conference which the second in the series to theme: ‘Enhancing Informal Sector Participation in the Contributory Pension Scheme’ held in Abuja, said the Roles of Civil Society Groups’ is meant to bridge the gap between PenCom and the public.
The Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Aishat Dahir-Umar in her paper delivered at the conference said the conference provides a great opportunity for the Commission to enlighten and interact with relevant Civil Society Groups in order to elicit better understanding of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and the Commission’s activities in general.
Dahir-Umar said that the need to constantly interact and inform you of recent developments in the pension industry and some of the other laudable transformational initiatives by the Commission.
The Commission, she said is facilitating efforts by the Pension Fund Administrators to provide incentives for the MPP. One key incentive that is being worked upon is the provision of health insurance to the Micro Pension contributors.
“This recognizes the need for the MPP to provide more access to health care services, which is often lacking in critical times of need”.
She told the participants that the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) was conceptualized to expand pension coverage to the informal sector, including small-scale businesses, entertainers, professionals, petty traders, artisans, and entrepreneurs.
“The MPP aims to curb old-age poverty by assisting the participants to contribute while working and build long-term savings to fall back on when they are no longer in active working life”.
PenCom’s expectation, according to the DG, is learning points from the conference which would be disseminated to your target audience and the larger society, “in addition to creating awareness and deepening the understanding of members of the CSGs, the conference should also elicit their participation in the MPP”.
Dahir-Umar recounted the feats achieved by the Commission, “Some of the recent significant accomplishments by the Commission include the issuance of the Guidelines on Accessing 25 percent (%) of RSA Balance towards payment of Equity Contribution for Residential Mortgage by RSA holders.
“This innovative development provides equity finance for RSA holders, facilitates their ownership of residential homes during their working life, and ultimately improves their living standards”
“The Guideline effectively implements the provisions of Section 89(2) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA), 2014 which aligns with one of the Commission’s core value of responsiveness, based on the need to improve the standard of living of active employees and retirees under the CPS”
“In addition to the above stated, the Commission also concluded the increase of the Minimum Regulatory Capital (Shareholders’ Fund) requirements of PFAs from N1 billion to N5 billion”
The recapitalisation exercise, which spanned a 12-month period was concluded on 27 April 2022. As of the deadline, all PFAs had complied with the Commission’s directive to increase the Minimum Regulatory Capital (Shareholders’ Fund) from N1 billion to N5 billion.
“The recapitalisation exercise was to ramp up the capacity of the PFAs to manage the increasing number of registered contributors and pension fund assets, the value of which I am pleased to inform you stands at about N14.42 Trillion as at 30 September, 2022”.
She continued, “The exercise is expected to bring about increased effectiveness and efficiency as well as improved service delivery in the industry.
“Further to its regulatory and supervisory functions, the Commission has continued to issue new Guidelines, Frameworks, and Regulations while strengthening existing ones, to make for the smooth implementation of the CPS and the welfare of active employees and pensioners under the Scheme”
“The Commission issued the Revised Regulation on the Administration of Retirement and Terminal Benefits to ensure that pensioners receive their benefits promptly”
The DG went on to relay other achievements by PenCom, “The key highlights of the Revised Regulation include clarifications and simplification of documentation processes, RSA consolidation before payments of retirement benefits, accrued pension benefits for private sector contributors, and additional lump sum payments”
The Revised Regulation also contains several new provisions on Pension Enhancement, Voluntary Contributions, payment under the MPP, payment of benefits of missing persons, and payment of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) benefits.