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Investors lobby PFAs as pension assets hit N9.8tn January 17, 2020
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The total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme rose to N9.8tn as of the end of November 2019.

Latest figures released by the National Pension Commission on Thursday revealed that N7.08tn or 70.88 per cent of the assets had been invested in Federal Government’s securities.

Private investors have also continued to lobby the operators on how to borrow part of the growing funds.

Under the Pension Reform Act 2014, the Pension Fund Administrators invest the accumulating funds in different investment portfolios, which were in the custody of the Pension Fund Custodians.

Some of the funds were invested in agency bonds, supra-national bonds, commercial papers, foreign money market securities, and open/closed-end funds.

Other investment portfolios where the operators invested the funds are REITS, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, cash and other assets.

The pioneering Director-General, National Pension Commission, Mr Muhammad Ahmad, said there was a need to encourage development of enabling framework for pension funds to facilitate national development.

In this case, he said, Public Private Partnership rules needed to be strengthened at both the national and state levels.

He said that Africa infrastructure collaboration initiatives such as roads, rails, telecommunication and power among others, should be promoted.

Ahamd said, “There is also need to promote credit enhancement market in the short term. Currently, infraCredit is virtually the only private institution, backed by MDFOs, providing such guarantees (incentives) in Nigeria.

“However, enabling environment such as policies on project preparation to enable quality project issuance, need to be established so as to walk ourselves out of provision of guarantees in the future.”

The President, Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria, Mrs Ronke Adedeji, said it was important to ensure the growth and improvement of the pension industry.

She said there was enormous potential for the sector to contribute to the development of the Nigerian economy.

Adedeji said, “Of note also is the agitation to utilise pension funds for infrastructure. While in principle there is no objection to this, it is extremely important that we bear in mind that these are peoples’ monies.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that they are secure. They must only be invested in viable and secure instruments that assure the owners of the funds can access their monies as and when due.

“Returns also need to be competitive as this is part of the funds used at retirement. l would also like to point out that it is a myth that pension funds are lying idle and not used for the development of the nation.”

She said the bulk of the assets had been invested in government securities for the benefit of the economy.

By THE PUNCH