The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has revealed that its pension asset has risen to N9.58trn as at September 2019.
This was made known on Thursday by the Acting Director-General of PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, during a workshop organized by the Commission for journalists in Benin city, Edo state.
According to her, “As at September 2019, the number of registered contributors under the CPS has grown to 8.85 million while pension fund assets have grown to N9.58 trillion. This growth indeed justifies our emphasis on the safety of pension funds as the bedrock of sustaining the CPS and assure all stakeholders that the pension reform remains steadily on course.
“These modest milestones notwithstanding, the Commission and Pension Operators are committed to actualizing the growth potentials of the pension industry”.
In line with the theme of the workshop, ‘Expanding Coverage of the Pension Industry’, Mrs. Umar, explained that the Commission’s strategic focus which aims to expand access to pension via the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), is also aimed at expanding coverage of pension through transformational initiatives especially the Micro Pension Plan (MPP).
The MPP, which was launched in March, 2019 by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, is targeted at the informal sector and self-employed who are not mandatorily covered under the CPS.
The PenCom boss also added that: “Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS), which is an in-house developed ICT application which was deployed in June 2019 to enhance the integrity of the contributors’ database, has 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 Micro Pension Plan participants and is a major step towards the introduction of the transfer window, which will enable contributors change to the PFAs of their choice, in line with Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014”.
The Executive Director (Technical) of ARM Pension, Mr. Abisola Onigbogi, explained that the informal sector has a huge potential to contribute significantly to the pension sector because apart from having a concentration of 70 per cent of total workforce in Nigeria, it also makes up about 17 million business and contributes 59.7 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.
He also stated that efforts are going to ensure partnership with service providers to provide access to basic services such as health care, insurance services among others, with the aim of bringing more persons in the informal sector into the pension scheme as a greater percentage of Nigerians which represent the informal sector are still out of the pension coverage.
“We need to deepen financial inclusion which stands at 65 per cent through mobile phone subscription. There are currently 172 million mobile subscribers, therefore, we need to make it easier for contributors to contribute to their pension account from the comfort of their mobile phones.
“Providing means of identification by enrollees has been a major challenge for us, therefore, we are working with the regulators to ensure that the requirements are relaxed a little too encourage more people into the scheme”.