Abuja - The asset base of Pension Commission (PenCom) has hit N4 trillion after clearing unpaid pensions.
The acting Director-General of PenCom, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, stated this in her presentation to the National Conference Committee on Civil Society, Labour, Youths and Sports in Abuja.
She said that the growth and achievements recorded were made possible through the reforms that were carried out in pension administration necessitated by the gaps indentified in the scheme.
“To the credit of the system which is transparent and resilient, it is designed to cater for workers at old age when they are no longer able to work.
"This is why the asset has grown from a N2 trillion deficit to a N4 trillion asset and with its daily esteem growing.
Anohu-Amazu said that the commission was doing everything possible to ensure effective management of pensioners’ funds in its custody.
"You hear a lot of stories on regular basis when you talk about pension, and the instantaneous response is one of corruption and fraud in pension schemes.
"That was one of the aspect we tackled in the reform.
Anohu-Amazu said any story that had to do with pension fund being embezzled had nothing to do with the contributory pension system because the system in place had made this impossible "as the structure prevented access to the funds.
"Part of the reform is to protect the dignity of the pensioners because the money they are seeking for is not a favour, it is their right because they have worked for it,’’ she said.
She said the commission had also decided to put away the situation where pensioners had to run around for their pension by ensuring that payment are made from the office of the accountant-general of the federation direct to their accounts.
The acting director-general also noted that the commission was working to cover people working in the informal sector in its pension scheme.
"The commission has gone into preparation to bring this sector into the scheme.
"The rule that applied to those in employment in the formal sector cannot be applied to the informal sector.
"We have to set up a totally different set of rules for informal sector which especially has to do with access to funds.
"This is important so that we can provide them with a simple form of protection when they can no longer work at old age,’’ she said.
Anohu-Amazu urged workers to save or invest when they are working rather than wait to set up a business with their pension funds.
"Pension fund is not for you to begin the life of an entrepreneur. My plea is that people should start thinking beyond today’s need. If you need to start any business start when you are working,’’ she said.
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