Insurance, pension play key drivers role to economic growth 

By Favour Nnabugwu 
For the nation’s economy to grow and develop very well, insurance and pension have a key drivers to the role according to  the Finance expert and Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer  APT Securities and Funds Limited, Mallam Kasim Garba Kurfi,
Kurfi, who stated this while delivering the theme paper on the  “Role of Insurance and Pension Sectors In Building Sustainable Economic Growth Under The New Government,” at the 8th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE) in Lagos said insurance and pension sectors today stand as  engines for sustainable economic growth and forces to reckon  with in every economy .
Kurfi therefore called on the present administration in the country  to put in place enabling policies and laws that support the survival of the sectors for them to continue to contribute the national growth.
Kurfi, while highlighting the contributions of the two sectors to the national economy said, “There is over N2.5 trillion assets managed by the insurance institution in Nigeria as of 31st December 2022.
“While there is over N16.6 trillion assets managed by the Pension Fund Administration as at 31st December 2022, the combination of the two institutions has a total asset of over N19 trillion. The role played by the two institutions in sustaining our economic growth left no one in doubt that they are instruments for most of the economic development
“Over N726 billion in premiums paid in the year 2022 according to the National Insurance Commission, while the industry also paid over N318.1 billion in claims to its customers within the same period. This is a remarkable achievement in comparison with 3.5% growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
He said insurance institutions give security to the future of the common people and aid economic growth upon happenings or allowance of specific event or disaster.
“Insurance represent promise of the future compensation in case of specific losses or in exchange for periodic payment called premium.
“Managing risk is very important for companies dealing with money or equivalent. The insurance industry promotes National development through wealth creation or protection. It primarily hedges against risk or contingent or uncertain loss.”
On pension, he said, “The contribution of pension funds that run over N16 trillion is pronounced in all phases of life. Many sectors of the economy benefit from excess funds that look for alternative ways to invest such as FGN SUKUK, GREEN BOND, and Infrastructures Bond, among many others.”
Kurfi said Pension ensures that every worker receives his/her retirement benefit as at when due. Ensure workers save in order to cater for future liability and old age. Provide long-term finance for the real sector. Stimulate the development of the capital market.
While condemning those agencies and institutions clamouring to exit Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), Kurfi enjoined the government at all levels to discourage such moves for the interest of the Pensioners and the nation’s economy.
He said the contribution of insurance and pension sectors towards economic development is imminent and can be seen especially in driving the nation’s financial inclusion project.
Pensioners seek better approach to benefits payment

L- Mr. Edwin Igbiti, President, Chartered Insurance Instruction of Nigeria CIIN, presenting appreciation plaque to Mrs. Yetunde Ilori, while Nkechi Naeche-Esezobor, Chairperson NAIPE watched with admiration at NAIPE’s 8th annual national conference in Lagos
By Favour Nnabugwu
As the Federal Government tackles all areas in the polity to ensure a healthy economy for the country, the leadership of pensioners under the aegis of Nigerian Union of Pensioners Contributory Pension Scheme (NUPCPS) has said the most urgent thing for the government is to improve on the welfare of pensioners and workers.
Giving the advice at the 8th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE), with the theme: “Role of Insurance and Pension In Building Sustainable Economic Growth Under The New Government,” in Lagos, the Secretary of the Union, Comrade Bisan Olufemi John, said the pension arrangement by the government was still far from being favourable to retirees.
He said there was no way the government can successfully tackle the economy without adequately satisfying the yearnings of both pensioners and those currently in service.
According to him, “the Federal Government has been struggling with getting the economy to work, but one thing that is clear is that the people are the ones that will contribute mainly to make such a reality.
“The government must first think of the workers, improve their welfare so they can then contribute their quota adequately to the economy. It should be the people before the economy.
“Government should think of how to build the operators of the economy and also improve the life of pensioners.”
While recalling the failure of government to pay Group Life Insurance claims to next of kin of deceased civil servants, he also lamented the perceived conflicts in annuity for pensioner under failed insurance companies.
He further called on the government to provide better opportunities for pensioners to be happy, saying that retirees’ welfarism should not just end at the level of being paid their stipends.
Ms. Prisca Soares, former Secretary General, African Insurance Organization (AIO), presenting appreciation plaque to Mallam Kasim Garba Kurfi, the Keynote Speaker while Nkechi Naeche-Esezobor, Chairperson NAIPE watched with admiration at NAIPE’s 8th annual national conference in Lagos 
Speaking in the same vein, another retiree, also a member of NUPCPS, Comrade Olagbayo Johnson. O., said it was unfortunate that the current Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) appeared to be failing.
Giving a background to the reason behind the scheme, he said it was the failure of the Defined Benefit Scheme, which is government funded, that compelled the Federal Government to visit Chile to do a check on how the contributory scheme worked.
He, however, lamented that since Nigeria started the scheme in 2004, it had shown little or no difference from the old scheme apart from the fact that employees and employers now contribute towards the pool of funds.
He pointed out that it was the more reason some individuals and institutions were agitating to pull out of the scheme.
According to him, “imagine, National Assembly workers, those are the people who made the law, they are agitating to pull out of the scheme. The military has long left and even the police are on the verge of pulling out.
“Why is this one different from that of Chile? Their own that we copied from is still working.”
On her part, the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos Chapter, Comrade Funmi Sessi, lamented that Nigerian pensioners were still far from having the deserved rest, adding that there was need for them to earn their benefits, rest and enjoy the fruit of their labour.
She condemned the poor approach by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to paying benefits to pensioners.
She also specifically condemned the difficult process in accessing benefits by relatives of deceased worker, stressing that the request for a letter of administration and other documents should be made easier.
Also speaking as one of the participants at the event, the Local Chapter Chairman, Nigeria Association for the Blind, Ifako Ijaiye Chapter, Anuoluwa Yinka Isaac, aka Fine Boy, said it was disturbing that Nigerian pension and insurance system does not have special products for the physically challenged in the society.
He observed that those in that category were left out in so many arrangements in the country, stressing that on so many occasions they would have to work out arrangements to live in the society that is almost hostile and unresponsive to the plight.
Insurance, Pension Operators seek Govt support on Business-Friendly Regulation

L-R: Keynote Speaker and Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Limited, Mallam Kasim Garba Kurfi; Director General, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mrs Yetunde Ilori, Mr Larry Ademeso, Managing Director, Custodian Life Assurance Limited, representative of Mr. Wole Oshin, Group Managing Director, Custodian Group, Chairman of the occasion; Mrs. Nkechi Naeche-Esezobor, Chairperson, NAIPE: at the 8th NAIPE Annual national Conference in Lagos on Thursday.
By Favour Nnabugwu
Operators in the nation’s financial service sector have advocated the need for Insurance and Pension operators to adopt a more creative and innovative ways in their business approach as they seek federal government support for business-friendly regulations
The practitioners wants insurance and pension operators on creative product development and service delivery to grow the sectors.
They gave their submissions at the 8th annual national conference of the Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editors (NAIPE), with the theme: “Role of Insurance and Pension In Building Sustainable Economic Growth Under The New Government,” held in Lagos on Thursday.
The experts emphasized the need for operators to embrace continued manpower development and technology adoption, which is a panacea for driving growth in modern-day businesses.
They also urged government at all levels to provide an enabling environment, supported by relevant regulation that is business-friendly and growth-driven.
In his contribution at a panel session, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Scib Insurance Broker, Mr. Shola Tinubu harped on the need for government to adopt creative policies and regulations that are business-friendly and growth-driven for the insurance and Pension sectors.
L- Mr. Edwin Igbiti, President, Chattered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN); Ms Prisca Soares, former Secretary General, African Insurance Organization (AIO) and Mr. Shola Tinubu, Managing Director, Scib Insurance Brokers at the NAIPE conference
Tinubu advised the regulators to give operators a free hand to choose their own ways of raising capital.
He said  “On the insurance side, capital had been driven by statutory requirements.
“We are talking about the regulator mandating the players to get certain quantum of capital without creating ground for that capital.
“Meaning that companies have to strive for capital just to stay in business and what has happened in the various rounds that we had was that there was no creative idea for channeling the capital.
L- President, West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) and GMD, CHI; Mrs Abimbola Tiamiyu, DG, CIIN; Mrs. Abimbola Sulaiman, ED, Investment, ARM Pensions, representative of Mr Wale Odutola, MD, ARM pension, Mr Wale Okunrinboye, Chief Investment, Access Pensions, representative of Mr Dave Oduano, MD, Access Pensions, and Mr. Akinbola Akintola, Head, Research Department, representative of Mr Oguche Agudah, CEO, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) at the 8th NAIPE Conference in Lagos 
According to him, “if any company decides on its own to go to the capital market to raise capital, such a company will channel the capital effectively for the growth of the business.
Tinubu noted that the industry need a situation where operators will initiate capital level and use it to follow up investment ideas.
The managing director stated that there is a need for investment managers who can digest investment ideas and see the kind of things they need.
He explained that operators do not need capital for the sake of raising it, but for investment opportunities that will yield higher returns.
In his view, the Managing Director, ARM Pension, Mr. Wale Odutola, represented by Mrs. Abimbola Suleiman, ED, Investment, ARM Pension, said every household has a need for basic insurance and a basic pension plan.
Odutola noted that insurance and pension have gone a long way in improving the lives of people.
He explained that government alone cannot engender sustainable economic growth, as such, insurance and pension should be encouraged among the rural dwellers to better their lots.
“When insurance handles the risks for businesses and the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) takes care of Pension liabilities from the balance sheet of the companies, this will go a long way to ensure productivity and growth in the nation’s finance sector.
“There are currently nine million people in the CPS net and this is abysmally low when compared to the nation’s population.
“Hence, there is need to get all state governments involved and the participation of the informal sector in CPS,”he said.
According to Odutola, deepening the scope of participation requires innovations and creativity from operators in both the insurance and pension sectors.
Ms. Prisca Soares, former Secretary General of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) said that, lack of skilled manpower, especially in the area of dearth of Actuaries, is presently challenging the insurance industry.
Soares said that the industry need to take a deliberate attempt to develop its manpower and solve this major challenge, with regard to financial reporting.
She explained that investment in technology needed for actuaries, had been a challenge over the years, but has now become more critical.
“When you do risk base capital you need actuaries to get it right. The insurance industry needs conscious efforts to address this because it is critical to their business,” she said.
Also, Mr. Oguche Aguda, Chief Executive Officer of the Pension Operator Association of Nigeria (PenOp) represented by Mr. Akinbola Akintola,Head of Research Department at PenOp, said, the insurance and pension sectors are facing the same challenge of public confidence.
Oguche charged operators in both sectors to work on their images, adding that if there is no confidence, there is no growth and without growth of the two sectors, the country’s economy cannot grow.
The Group Managing Director, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance(CHI), Mr. Eddie Efekoha represented by Tunde Daramola, ED, Finance at CHI, harped on the need to enforce compulsory insurances and pension, as the era of non-payment of claims have gone.
Efekoha urged operators in both industries to be honest with their businesses, gain the trust of consumers and also bridge their expectation gaps.
Residential Mortgage: Pension Industry to improve publicity, collaborates with banks, developers & Govt

By Favour Nnabugwu

Desirous of more publicity on residential mortgage, the National Pension Commission (PenCom)  has mapped out strategies to improve accessibility to mortgage in the country

A mortgage is a type of loan used to purchase or maintain a home, land, or other types of real estate.

Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officers, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOP) Agudah Oguche in a paper titled, Improving accessibility and Service Delivery in RSA Mortgage Financing mentioned five areas the pension Industry would tackled with, He said the industry would improve publicity, boost technology and collaborate with banks, developers and government to increase access to mortgage.

Only 187 have so far accesses the 25 percent Retirement Savings Account, RSA for the N3.1 billion PenCom approved

Oguche identified the challenges in the to include down payment, equity contribution, price instability, high interest rates, corruption, proliferation of quack in the building space, long-term financing, undeveloped secondary market and low income levels.

Represented by Mr Akinbola Akinbola of PenOp in Abuja, Oguche however, said a significant constraint for most employees is their inability to provide equity contribution to access a mortgage loan to own a house.

To proffer a solution to the challenge faced by employees, the commission said the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014) made provision for RSA holders to use part of their retirement savings as equity contributions for residential mortgages.

PenCom said RSA holders must go through various application, documentation and remittance processes in order to access their accounts to pay equity contributions for residential mortgages.

Oguche said that the first step is for an interested applicant to obtain an offer letter for the property from the owner or approved agent and approach a mortgage lender to fill out an application form.

The commission said the mortgage lender must review the application form and verify the genuineness of the property offer.

The commission said after the property offer letter is confirmed, applicants are required to approach their pension fund administrator (PFA) and request their RSA statement in order to access the 25 percent of their RSA balance for payment of equity contribution.

He said couples are allowed to apply if they both meet the eligibility criteria jointly.

At this stage, the PFA is required to issue a duly endorsed RSA statement to the applicant, which the applicant forwards to the mortgage lender

CPS membership hit over 10m in June 2023

By Favour Nnabugwu 
A total members of Contributory Pensions Scheme, CPS to pension has hit over 10million as at June 30, 2023.
The Director-General of the National Pension Commission, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar said that the membership rose from 9.86 members as of the end of 2022 to over 10 million members as of June 2023 with an increase of 146,920 new contributors
Also, the nation’s pension assets have risen by N1.77 trillion in the first half of 2023, from N14.99 trillion in December 2022 to N16.76 trillion at the end of June 2023.
Dahir-Umar in Abuja on Thursday revealed that said the Agency’s proactive regulatory approach has strengthened the oversight and governance of pension funds, promoting transparency, accountability and safeguarding the interests of pension contributors.
PenCom Director-General who spoke at the 2023 Journalists Conference organised by the PenCom for Pension Correspondents with the theme,  “Transforming Service Delivery in the Pension Industry: Strategies for Improving Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction”
She said the Contributory Pensions Scheme, CPS has ensured that public and private sector workers can build retirement savings throughout their working lives, fostering financial security during their golden years.
Represented by the Head Corporate Communication of PenCom, Mr Abdulquadri Dahiru affirmed that PenCom’s commitment to enhancing the knowledge and understanding of the CPS and its impact in the lives of contributors and retirees is not contestable.
” It is also an occasion to interact with the media and discuss developments shaping Nigeria’s pension landscape.
“It reflects PenCom’s commitment to continuous service improvement in the Pension Industry so that contributors and retirees receive the best possible experience.”
In the course of the interaction, the DG, said three enlightening papers addressing essential aspects of the Agency’s pension system’s service delivery would be presented.
The first paper, “Enhancing Customer Service in the Pension Industry: PenCom’s New Strategic Plan,” will highlight the Commission’s latest initiatives to elevate customer service.
The creation of the Consumer Protection Department (CPD), she further explained underscores PenCom’s determination to prioritise service delivery and provide our Retirement Savings Account holders with the care and attention they rightfully deserve.
The second paper, “Strengthening Regulatory Oversight for Improved Service Delivery in the Pension Industry,” will explore how regulatory measures can effectively bolster the quality of services provided in the pension sector. Regulatory oversight is pivotal in maintaining transparency, fairness, and efficiency, which are the cornerstones of our pension system.
The third paper, “Improving Accessibility and Service Delivery in RSA Mortgage Financing,” will be presented by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp).
The presentation according to her will delve into the crucial area of mortgage financing, addressing ways to enhance accessibility and service delivery for our eligible Retirement Savings Account holders.
While appreciating the Journalists for their support and collaboration, she said, “Your dedication and support are instrumental in advancing PenCom’s mission. Let us embrace the spirit of learning, collaboration, and progress throughout this event and beyond.Thank you, and I wish you all a fruitful and rewarding conference.”
Faces at PenCom seminar for Pension Journalists in Abuja


National Pension Commission, PenCom organised a on day seminar for Pension Journalists at Rockview Royale in Abuja today. L- Mr. Abdulqadir Dahiru, Head, Corporate Communications Department, PenCom, Mr. Nduka Chiejina, Chairman, FICAN Abuja, Akinwa Jumoke, PenOp, Akinbola Akintola, PenOp.

L-Mr Ikenna Chidi-Ebere, Head Consumer Protection Department. Hajiya Fatsuma Abubakar, Principal Manager, Consumer Protection Department, PenCom, Nana Musa, President, Pension Correspondents Association of Nigeria (Pencan),

Pension Journalists as they pay attention to the facilitator

Still Journalists at the event

Pension Journalists during the seminar

Pension Journalists during the seminar

All the Journalists at the event with members of PenCom management

PenCom recovers N24.53 bn from June 2012 – March 2023 from defaulting employers 

L- Mr Ikenna Chidi-Ebere, Head Consumer Protection Department of National Pension Commission, PenCom, Mr. Abdulquadri Dahiru, Head Corporate Communication and Mr. Olusanya Ogunbiy of PenCom during the Seminar for Pension Journalists in Abuja today
By Favour Nnabugwu
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has been able to recover a whopping 24.53billion from defaulting employers
PenCom established an effective mechanism to recover outstanding pension contributions and liabilities, including penalties, from defaulting employers.
Head of Corporate Corporate Communication, Mr Abdulquadri Dahiru said employers evading or delaying the remittance of their employees’ deducted pension contributions are flouting the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014)
From the commencement of the recovery exercise in June 2012 to 31 March 2023, a total sum of (N24,533,339,305.09 comprising of principal contribution (N12,440,682,240.91) and penalties (N12,092,657,064.18) was recovered from defaulting employers, According the Head of Corporate Communication of PenCom.
In Q1 2023, the sum of N384,280,651.48
comprising principal contributions (N193,058,483.56) and penalties (N191,222,167.92) was recovered from 34 defaulting employers.
The recoveries were made by the Commission in line with Section 11 of the PRA 2014, which provides that the employer shall deduct, at source, the monthly contribution of every employee in his employment and not later than seven working days from the day the employee is paid his salary, remit an amount comprising the employee’s contribution and the employer’s contribution to the custodian specified by the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) of the employee.
PenCom invoked Sections 92 and 93 of the PRA 2014, which empowers it to authorise the examination, inspection or investigation of an employer relating to pension funds or assets.
The aim is to ensure compliance with the provisions of the PRA 2014 by private sector employers and mitigate the complaints from employees and PFAs on the non-remittance of pension contributions by some employers.
Dahiru affirmed that PenCom appoints Recovery Agents to examine private sector employers to determine their compliance with the PRA 2014. The recovered principal contributions and the penalties recovered are paid into employees’ RSAs to compensate for the lost income due to non or late remittance of pension contributions by employers.
PenCom and PFAs bear the recovery costs of the recovering agents hence, it comes at no cost to Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders.
The PRA 2014 further stipulates that every eligible employee shall maintain an RSA with any PFA. Once an RSA is opened, the employee must inform their employer by submitting the RSA Personal Identification Number (PIN) issued by the PFA.
Subsequently, the employer must deduct, at source, and remit to Pension Fund Custodian (PFC) a minimum of 18 percent contribution (employer 10% and employee 8%). It should be noted, however, that the 18 percent total monthly pension contribution is a minimum, as the employer may elect to increase the rate or bear the whole burden on behalf of the employee.
“Any employer who fails to deduct or remit the contributions within the stipulated time frame of seven working days from the day salaries are paid shall, in addition to making the remittances already due, be liable to a penalty, which shall not be less than 2 percent of the total contributions that remain unpaid for each month or part of each month the default continues and the amount of the penalty shall be recovered as a debt owed and paid into the employee’s RSA”
The recovery process requires the recovery agents to diligently follow the outlined steps, which commences with obtaining a list of assigned defaulting employers and letters of introduction from PenCom to the employer.
The RA is granted access by the employer to review pension records to determine pension liabilities. After that, the RA issues demand notices to the employer to remit the outstanding pension liabilities and penalties.
As a result, the RA follows up with the defaulting employers to ensure remittances of outstanding pension contributions.
Proof of payment is obtained and forwarded to PenCom for onward confirmation by the PFCs.
PenCom also prosecutes recalcitrant employers who persistently default in remitting pension contributions.
PenCom’s Consumers Protection Dept daily receives 200 complaints

L- Mr Ikenna Chidi-Ebere, Head Consumer Protection Department of National Pension Commission, PenCom, Mr. Abdulquadri Dahiru, Head Corporate Communication and Mr. Olusanya Ogunbiy of PenCom during the Seminar for Pension Journalists in Abuja today
By Favour Nnabugwu
National Pension Commission (PenCom) has created a new platform, Consumers Protection Department (CPD) that enables contributors and retirees lodge in their complains and get swift response as the Commission receives 200 complaints everyday.
Head, Consumer Protection Department, Mr. Ikenna Chidi-Ebere said that the department records about 150 to 200 compliance everyday, adding that the department is focused on the area of data capturing to achieve their results.
He informed that the platform are daily monitored to proactively ensure smooth response to the compliants and inquires received.
The commission at the 2023 journalists conference with the theme: Transforming Service Desk in the pension Industry: Strategic for improving efficiency and customer satisfaction said the new platform, Consumers Protection Department (CPD) was created to enhance customer service in the pension Industry by continuously liaising with the pension fund operators to ensure that services were effectively rendered to consumers.
Chidi- Ebere whose paper is titled,  ‘Enhancing Customer Service in the Pension Industry: PenCom’ New strategic plan’, said the platform was established to replace its erstwhile Corporate Responsibility and ServiCom Department by the National Pension Commission (PenCom) in keeping to its Corporate Strategy initiative for 2023-2027.
He said, “Contributors and retirees play a crucial role as stakeholders in the pension Industry, as such, ensuring their satisfaction through effective and efficient service delivery and compliant resolution aligns perfectly with the commission’s mandate to achieve excellence in service delivery.
Leadway Pensure pays N175bn retirement benefits to customers

By Favour Nnabugwu
Leadway Pensure, a leading Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), said it has paid over N175billion in retirement and terminal benefits to over 85,000 of its customers since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2004.
Mr Kelechi Nwabalogu,Team Lead, Customer Relationship Management Department of Leadway Pensure stated this at a training organised by Leadway Group for members of the Nigerian Association of Insurance And Pension Editors (NAIPE) on Tuesday in Lagos.
Nwabalogu said that Leadway Pensure has shareholders’ funds in excess of N8.6billion, which is versus a required N5billion by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
According to him, Leadway Pensure was formed by a consortium of three finance service organisations namely ; Leadway Holdings Ltd., MBC Securities and Prestige Assurance Plc.
He noted that in terms of quality assurance, PenCom had adjudged Leadway Pensure as one of the best in the industry, which signifies its quality service delivery and best in class corporate governance.
Speaking on the 25 percent Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) balance for mortgage approved by PenCom, Nwabalogu stated that Leadway was committed to providing financial support for its RSA holders to access the fund and become house owners before retirement.
He noted that RSA holders must however meet the conditions and guidelines stipulated by PenCom to access the fund.
” Some of the conditions are that ; the RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months.
” An offer letter for the property duly signed by the property owner and verified by the mortgage lender.
” The application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy, among others,” he said.
PenCom had in September 2022, approved a guidelines for RSA holders  to access a residential mortgage through their RSAs, in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014).
The commission’s guideline stated that RSA holders can use 25 per cent of their RSA balance towards the payment of equity for a residential mortgage.
Retirees in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya among poorest globally- Report

By Favour Nnabugwu
Retirees in several African countries in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenny are among the poorest globally.
As it is now, African governments and policymakers need to address the pension crisis and ensure that retirees can live with dignity and financial security in their later years.
A new report by Allianz, an international financial services provider, surveyed 75 countries, including five in Africa.
An ineffective pension system and a lack of adequate retirement benefits as the major reasons for the alarming trend.
The report highlights several factors that contribute to the problem, including the inability of local pension schemes to mobilize adequate funds, a lack of legal mechanisms to delay retirement, and the absence of a proper ratio between current and future pensioners.
In addition, poor monthly contributions by workers and low pension coverage are also cited as major challenges in many African countries
Nigeria’s benefit ratio is only 16 per cent while South Africa has a low benefit ratio of 22 per cent but Mauritius, on the other hand, fared better with a benefit ratio of 39 per cent.
In Egypt, for instance, the report notes that the gross benefit level is merely 18 per cent, leaving many senior citizens struggling to make ends meet.
According to the report, an ideal pension system should provide a benefit ratio of between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of an average wage, with public pensions often being the only source of income in old age.
Meanwhile, many African countries fall short of this standard, leaving retirees in a precarious financial situation.
The situation is particularly dire in countries like Kenya, Lebanon, and South Africa, where the ‘poorest’ pensioners can still be found.
“The low benefit level is also due to poor monthly contributions by workers, with the only pension scheme that a lot of employees participate in being the National Social Security Fund (NSSF),” the report notes.
Critics have been pushing for increased contributions to NSSF, noting that the current contribution of just Sh200 in Kenya, for instance, is not enough to secure the future of retirees.
Others have suggested that well-run retirement benefit schemes can compensate retirees with an equivalent of 30 per cent of their incomes.
The report’s findings are particularly worrying given that many African countries are experiencing a demographic shift, with a rapidly ageing population.
Without adequate retirement benefits and support, many retirees are forced to work well into their golden years, raising concerns about their health and well-being.