The National Pension Commission says the number of registered contributors under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS)as at September 2019, has increased to 8.85 million
The Acting Director-General Of The Commission, Aisha Dahir-umar, made the disclosure at a workshop organized for journalists by the Commission In Edo State.
Represented by Head Micro Pensions Department, Mr. kunle Odebiyi, the D.G also revealed that part of the achievements on the implementation of the CPS was that the pension fund assets have grown to the tune of N9.58 trillion.
According to her, the quest to expand coverage of pension is being pursued through some transformational initiatives especially the Micro Pension Plan (MPP), which she said was part of the transformational initiatives the commission was working on.
”the MPP, which was launched in March 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari, is targeted at the informal sector and self-employed who are not covered under the CPS;
”It is noteworthy that the MPP was designed with significant flexibility in recognition of the peculiarities of the targeted population”. Aisha said.
Speaking on one of the transformational initiatives of the commission, tagged the ”Enhanced Contributor Registration System” (ECRS), the D.G explained that the ECRS was an in-house developed ICT application that was deployed in June 2019 to enhance the integrity of the contributors’ database.
She reiterated that the system had also been integrated with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) database to assist authenticate the uniqueness of individuals seeking to register under the CPS.
In her words ”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 to change to the PFAs of their choice, in line with Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.”
Emphasizing the safety of pension funds as the bedrock of sustaining the CPS, the NPC boss assured all stakeholders that the pension reform remains committed to actualizing the growth potentials of the industry.
In a paper presentation, titled ”Driving the Micro Pension Plan” the commission noted the lack of means of identification as one major challenge that makes it difficult to register Nigerians under the CPS, stressing that less than 20% of them have the National Identification number registered by the
National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
The paper however recommended sensitization and awareness creation, embracing digitalization as well as the partnership that could add value to the sector, as effective ways to drive the micro pension plan in Nigeria.
According to Mr. Babatunde Philips, Head States Operations Department in the commission, during his paper presentation titled ” status and level of compliance with the CPS”, 25 states were highlighted to have enacted pension laws on CPS, while 9 states including the FCT were reported to have commenced implementation of the scheme and remitting both employer and employee contributions.
The 9 states are Lagos; Kaduna; Ondo, Edo; Anambra; Ekiti; Osun,Delta States and the Federal Capital Territory.
However, Philips hinted that 7 states are still at the bill stage.
Meanwhile, the commission asserted that the status of compliance with the contributory pension scheme at the state level was still being impeded by a lack of political will by some state governors to key into full implementation of the scheme.
Other challenges noted include partial implementation of the scheme and lack of adequate funding of the CPS.
The theme for the workshop which was “Expanding Coverage of the Pension Industry” describes the Commission’s current strategic focus, which aims to expand access to a pension through the CPS, as a veritable tool for economic development.