Article ID: 1586774288 - Report Article
co-authored by Owan Joseph Iripia, firstname.lastname@example.org
The panic of growing older, the inability of most human beings to manage their personal resources and the need for sustainability of life after service has gone begging for a Pension Reform in Nigeria. This yearning was met with the introduction of the Pension Reform Act 2004. Prior to this, efforts made were not given full recognition, rather, pension was seen as a voluntary effort (Ajayi, 1994). Perhaps, this has not been the case in recent years consequent upon the dynamics and diversity of modern society, coupled with huge amount of money committed to pension annually (Femi, 2001). Despite all efforts, Nigeria is still faced with the problem of managing an all-inclusive pension scheme that captures a sizeable number of her retirees, whether in the private or public sector. Suffice it to say that underfunding, corruption, inadequacies in records keeping, etc. are some of the underpinning problems befalling pension schemes in Nigeria till date. As cited in (Bassey et al., 2010), the families of the deceased employees in most cases find it difficult to secure their bread winner entitlement several years after the beneficiary’s death.
Pre-2014 Pension Acts put a huge strain in government finances. Consequently, when government could no longer cope with financing of the pension scheme alone in the face of other challenging economic demands, the government introduced a contributory pension scheme to replace the non-contributory scheme (Agu 2014). Be that as it may, the Pension Reform Act 2004 was repealed and replaced with the Pension Reform Act 2014, an effort at meeting up the buoying challenges not envisaged in the 2004 Pension Reform Act. The 2014 Act was therefore a direct effort to improve the welfare of the pensioners and cut down their travails. Under the new Pension Act 2014, mismanagement of pension funds upon conviction, attracts a heavy punishment of not less than ten years imprisonment and/or a fine of an amount equal to three times the amount so misappropriated or diverted. The new scheme just like the old is not without allegations of lack of transparency, corruption, administrative problems among others. It is on this backdrop that the policy paper focuses to analyze the contributory pension scheme in Nigeria with a view to uncover the underlying successes and challenges, and make recommendations on ways the challenges can be stemmed.
Nigeria has experimented with various types of pension scheme before the recent Pension Act of 2014. Starting with the first pension legislation in 1951, the Pension Ordinance, which was retroactively implemented to begin from 1st January, 1946, providing pension and gratuity for public servants. Then came the Nigerian Providence Fund in 1961 providing pension for private organization. Others like 1972 Armed Forces Pension Act, 1979 Pension Decree 102 and National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) all followed. The NSITF scheme, established in 1994, replaced National Providence Fund in providing cover for the private sector of the economy by placing emphasis on enhancing social protection of private sector employees. Prior to 2004, Nigerian public Sector operated Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Scheme, however 2014 Pension Reform Act introduced the contributory Scheme (Odia and Okoye, 2012, as cited in Nwanne, 2015). The DB pension scheme was unfunded, marred by weak, inefficient and poor administration, and prone to financial malpractices, with pensioners subjected to endless and painful annual physical verifications (Umar, 2015). There were resultant cases of pensioners hard done by corrupt officials (Obasa, 2018), rampant complaints of loss of pensioner’s files (Amaechi and Albano 2009), and fainting and dying of pensioners while on long queues to collect their pension (Orifowomo 2006). Similarly, the Private Sector was characterized by low coverage and compliance, resulting in little or no retirement benefit arrangements for most workers (Umar, 2015). These challenges necessitated the reforms that threw up the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2004, termed the Pension Act 2004. The CPS covered both public and private sectors, allowing workers to save and receive their benefits in due time. National Pension Commission (PENCOM) was established by the act to oversee pension funds and ensure that beneficiaries receive their payment promptly. This introduced an element of control and monitoring that was non-existent in the administration of pension fund until then.
The following are the major policy developments in Nigeria’s Contributory Pension Scheme:
According to PENCOM (2006), the 2004 CPS set the public and private sector employees’ minimum contribution at 7.5% of Basic Salary, Housing and Transport Allowances; 2.5% for the military. For employers, the contribution is12.5% for Military, while minimum of 7.5% is set for private and public sectors. When an employer opt to contribute on behalf of the employees, the total of such contribution should not be less than 15% of the Basic Salary, Housing and Transport allowances of the employees. Under obligation, an employer deducts and remits contributions to a Custodian within 7 days the employee received the salary. The custodian shall in turn, within 24 hours, notify the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) of receipt of the contribution. These contributions and retirement benefits are tax exempted.
Aside being contributory and fully funded, the scheme is personalized and portable for retirees, providing them with Personal Identification Number (PIN) that allows access to their information. There is also private sector management, with pension funds administered and managed by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), while the Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) hold the pension funds and assets on trust. Employee opens a compulsory Retirement Savings Account (RSA) with a PFA of choice where contributions to the scheme are deposited in. Retirees are presented with planned withdrawal of savings either through programmed withdrawal or life annuity. Withdrawal from RSA is allowed upon retirement or at the age of 50. Deaths while in active service are covered by life insurance. The scheme introduced a uniform standards for both private and public sectors, while providing strong regulatory framework (Umar, 2015).
The Pension Act of 2014
In a bid to address some of the challenges witnessed in the implementation of the 2004 Pension Act, fresh amendments were made in 2014 which gave rise to the 2014 Pension Act, and this came with a sizeable number of distinguishing features. According to Umar (2015), the employee’s monthly contribution was reviewed upward to a minimum of 8%, and the employer’s to 10%. The scheme was expanded to cover the participation of the informal sector and adoption of States and Local Governments, while exempting personnel of the military and security agencies. Opening of temporal RSA account is mandated for employees that failed to so. Income on investment of pension funds are exempted from tax. Other highlights of the 2014 scheme as captured by Umar (2015) includes: creation of new offenses and provision of stiffer penalties to deter against mismanagement or diversion of pension funds; revision of retirement age and benefits of university professors; establishment of Pension Protection Fund (PPF), utilization of Pension Funds for National Development; periodic review of pensions; reduction in the waiting period to access benefits in the event of loss of job; prompt movement of pension assets between PFAs as corrective action on failing licensed operators; and granting of access to RSA to pay equity contribution on residential mortgage.
The 2014 Pension Act was firmly stated, leaving no previous issues from the old Pension Scheme untouched. Undoubtedly, there was an improvement in the financial base of the scheme. In line with this, as of last quarter of 2018, the Net Assets Value of Pension Assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme was 8.6 trillion (Emejo, 2018). The huge financial increase notwithstanding, it is important not to lose sight of the primary issue the reform seeks to address: embedding an effective administration in the management of pension scheme in Nigeria.
The peculiarity of the Nigerian environment makes pension a very nerve-racking and contentious issue. With an ever increasing population of more than 190 million people and population growth rate of 2.6% (World Bank, 2018), the need for a functional and comprehensive pension scheme becomes more evident. Nigeria has a total labour force (15 – 64 years) of 90,470,592 and total employed (both full time and part-time in private and public sectors) of 69,542,944 (NBS, 2018). This shows that only about 37% of the population carters for the entire nation, further revealing a grueling burden of dependency on this small fraction of the population. It is further compounded by growing unemployment which stood at 23.1%, under-employment rate of 20.2% and youth unemployment of 55.4% in the third quarter of 2018 (NBS, 2018). Youths, still in their prime, who make up a large chunk of the population, and that of the active labour force are pushed into the already overcrowded dependency group. Pension offers a unique way to take off the weight of retirees from the already weak backs and legs of the active labour force.
Additionally, salaries and wages in Nigeria have been low. Until recently, minimum wage has been pegged at N18,000 making it difficult for an average worker to carter for his/her daily needs and still save for the rainy days. Even with the upward review to N30,000, which the implementation is yet to commence, it still fall short of meeting up with the economic realities of the current time. More so, the late payment and non-payment of salaries are recurring distressing issues. In a September 2018 sub-national salary survey by BudgIT, a civic organization involved in raising standard of transparency and accountability in government, revealed that about 17 States, representing about 50% of all the states of the federation, have been inconsistent in meeting up with their wage bills (Daily Post Report, October 8, 2018). Government has resorted to bailout funds and borrowing to partially meet up with the payment of workers’ salaries and wages. This only compounds the condition of the active labour force, further strengthening the dire need for a robust pension scheme. When the current labour force struggles to carter for their own immediate need, it becomes more difficult to carry additional burden of dependents.
Pension scheme in Nigeria has been plagued with controversies and have been in the news in the time past for the wrong reasons. Pre-2004 Defined Benefit schemes were characterized by the inability of government to meet up with payment of pensions and retirement gratuities to retirees; insufficient funding; pitiable administrative handling of scheme occasioned by inadequate training of pension officials; corruption and lack of transparency with resultant diversion of funds; burdensome, less-dignifying, long verification and payment process of benefits and corresponding deaths experienced by retirees (Obasa, 2018). There were also issues of undue interference of government in pension administration, and politicization of retirement benefits thereby subjecting the process to political risks. Abdulazeez (2015) categorized the risks into three: politician use of unsustainable pension increase to win votes in election; taking undue advantage of unseparated pension account to make withdrawals at will to cushion temporary fiscal shocks; and the socio-political indifference to the plight of pensioners by politicians, focusing more on active labour force as a result of their political weight. Absence of accurate facts and figures from lack of proper record keeping of actual pensioners in existence only fed corruption around the schemes (Nwanne, 2015). The inadequate funding issues, according to Uzor & Anekwe (2018), were traced to high payroll taxes and tax evasion, misallocation of resources, bureaucracies, and economic downturn, lack of budgetary provision and inefficiency in the management of the system, wrong investment decision, arbitrary increases in pension without corresponding funding arrangements, non-preservation of benefits, serious structural problems of nonpayment and non-coverage.
The above issues were largely corrected by the 2004 Pension Act, as was earlier captured under the Policy Context, by giving more responsibility to the employee, providing pensioners with ease of access to saved benefits, and guaranteeing better management, greater scrutiny and more protection of pension funds.
The 2014 Act, also a contributory scheme and a product of amendment of the 2004 Act, went a little further to provide improved security of funds. As summarized by Uzor & Anekwe (2018), while referencing (Olanrewaju, 2011; Odewole, 2017), this new scheme embeds the principle of transparency and accountability as evident in the reporting requirements of the PFAs and PFCs to both the contributor and the National Pension Fund. Information placed in the hands of contributors ranges from monthly balances and contributions, to the lump sum available on retirement, as well as the monthly pension. The scheme also ensures that retiring workers receive their pension promptly immediately after retirement. Contributions to the new pension scheme are exempted from taxation, and can be drawn for mortgage payment. The freedom guaranteed to workers to change a non-performing PFA once in a year encourages competition and efficiency among the administrators. Relevant stakeholders are now adequately represented in the Board of the National Pension Commission, making it more inclusive and representative. Monthly pensions are now paid directly into the pensioners’ bank accounts (Ayegba, James and Odoh, 2013). Verification does not require long travels any longer, the local offices of PFAs are now equipped to interface with pensioners on the local level.
Since the passage of 2014 Pension Act into law, the implementation of the scheme has recorded some significant successes. In a 2019 first quarterly report by PenCom detailing the achievements of the implementation of 2014 scheme, private compliance (a major challenge) for the quarter shows a remittance of the sum of N45.90 billion to 105,382 private sector employees’ RSAs by the 4,675 organizations who were issued with compliance certificates. This represents an improvement from the last quarter of 2018 where 2,044 private organizations remitted N7.42 billion into RSAs of 966,155 employees. Though the current number of private sector employers on the scheme wasn’t provided, Agabi (2017) reported about two hundred thousand (200,000) private sector employers of labour were already implementing the CPS and have contributed about 60 percent of the total pension fund assets as at 2017. Also, from inception to the first quarter of 2019, the sum of N9.91 billion has been transferred into the RSAs of 137,939 NSITF contributors, while total pension payments to NSITF pensioners amounted to N4.42 billion.
As for recovery, the efforts of Recovery Agents have yielded N15.76 billion, comprising principal contributions of N8.22 billion and penalty N7.54 billion, and these amounts have been credited to the respective RSAs of the employees.
For State Government compliance, under the public sector, the commission, through their engagement with States Government via interactive sessions, trainings and workshops, continued to record progress with implementation of CPS. The number of States that have enacted laws on the CPS stood at 27, while eight (8) States were at the bill stage of implementation; only Yobe State is yet to commence the process of enacting a law on the CPS. Out of the 27 who have enacted the law, 12 States (Jigawa, Lagos, Kaduna, Delta, Zamfara, Osun, Rivers, Kebbi, Ekiti, Edo, Ondo, Anambra) and the FCT had commenced implementation and are remitting pension contributions into the RSAs of their employees, though some are partially doing so. In Kano State, these contributions were collected by not remitted. Jigawa State is remitting pension contributions to selected Pension Fund Administrators but implementing a Contributory Defined Benefits Scheme (CDBS). Lagos, Kaduna, Delta, Osun, Anambra, FCT and Rivers are funding their accrued rights, with Osun making inadequate funding and having huge arrears with Delta State. Anambra only Funds accrued right of local government workers. Only Kaduna State and FCT provide valid life insurance cover (PenCom First Quarter Report, 2019). As part of the measures to protect investments, PenCom has barred PFA’s from investing in the bonds of states that are yet to join the CPS until they do so.
The expansion of 2014 CPS made provision to cover self-employed and persons working with organizations with less than 3 employees – a category of workers which constitute the larger percentage of working population in Nigeria – through the Micro Pension Plan which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on 28th March, 2019. This plan targets mostly those with irregular income (mostly artisans), usually in the informal sector and who are largely uninformed with limited or no access to financial services especially pension plan (Odewole, 2017; Agabi, 2017). In an effort to protect these individuals’ financial future and attract additional pool of long term funds for investments and national development, PenCom has developed this plan, availing it with flexible frequency and easy method of contribution. Though the Commission is still working out a Fee Structure to govern the management of the Micro Pension Fund by Pension Fund Operators, it has commenced the registration of contributors under the Micro Pension Plan and the subsequent collection of contributions from Micro Pension Contributors (PenCom First Quarter Report, 2019).
The Pension scheme membership currently stands at 8,633,304, representing a 1.87 percent growth from the last quarter of 2018. The CPS membership comprises the Retirement Savings Account (RSA), Closed Pension Fund Administration (CPFA) and Approved Existing Scheme (AES), with RSA representing about 99 percent of membership. A breakdown of RSA shows that 4,928,179 of the total registration (57.51%) is from the private sector, while the public sector contributes 3,640,858 of RSA membership (42.49). The commission attributed the increased level of compliance by the private sector to the various efforts by the commission, as well as the marketing strategies of PFAs (PenCom First Quarter Report, 2019).
A review of sectoral pension funds contributions shows that the private sector contributed N2.26 trillion, i.e. 49.67 percent, out of the total N5.28 Trillion, while the public sector contributed N2.66 trillion i.e. 50.33 percent. The total value of pension fund assets based on unaudited valuation reports stands at N9.03 trillion as at March 2019, representing a growth of 4.55 percent from that of last quarter of 2018. The Pension Fund assets were mainly invested in Federal Government Securities, with an allocation of 72 percent of the total pension assets (FGN Bonds: 49 percent, Treasury Bills: 21 percent, Sukuk Bonds: 1 percent while Agency Bonds and Green Bonds: less than 1 percent), Local Money Market Securities 9.68 percent, Domestic Ordinary Shares 6.54 percent, Corporate Debt Securities, 5.29 percent, Real Estate Properties, 2.56 percent, State Government Securities, 1.60 percent, and others having less than 1% individual allocations. The yields on FGN Bonds ranged between 12.35 percent p.a. and 13.10 percent p.a., for maturities between 5 years and 20 years, while yields on Treasury Bills ranged between 11 percent p.a. and 13 percent p.a. across all tenors. In addition, the continued depreciation in the market prices of quoted stocks as reflected by the negative return of 1.25 percent recorded by the NSE-ASI also affected the Fund performance (PenCom First Quarter Report, 2019). This pool of pension fund has aided in deepening Nigeria’s financial sector, providing government with platform for attaining her strategic programmes in the areas of infrastructure, housing and the development of the real sector of the economy (Agabi, 2017).
For payment of pensions, the total number of retirees currently receiving their pensions under the Programmed Withdrawal (PW) contracts stands at 214,538, representing a 6.87 percent increase from fourth quarter of 2018, and a total N559.48 billion has been paid as lump sum and N9.14 Billion as monthly PW from inception. The total number of retirees receiving their retirement benefits through the annuity plan from inception is 65,916, with N86.6 Billion paid out as lump sum, N353.69 as premium and N3.52 Billion as monthly annuity. The cumulative total number of RSA holders who have been paid benefits for temporary loss of job were 313,468 and were paid a total of N107.93 billion (private sector 95.38%; public sector 4.62%), being 25 percent of the balances of their RSAs as prescribed by the Pension Reform Act 2014. A sum of N173.86 Billion has been paid out for 55,820 (12,557 private & 55,820 public sector) total number of deceased employees since inception; this amount is inclusive of Group Life Insurance Claims. Enblock payment to retirees and foreigners totaling N26.43 billion for 106,483 (96,718 private & 9,765 public) retirees, have been made from inception (PenCom First Quarter Report, 2019).
The Pension Commission has been active in the offsite examination of Pension Fund Operators as it continues to periodically review and address the compliance reports, corporate governance report and returns on Rendition System. There were adoption of several strategies to aid enforcement and increase compliance. These include the application of sanctions and collaboration with key stakeholders on public enlightenment campaigns as well as engagement of defaulting employers via pension recovery agents employed by the Commission to recover unremitted pension contributions. The commission has also collaborated with Security Agencies such as the Police, the EFCC, ICPC and National Human Right Commission (NHRC) in efforts to drive compliance. There are also several on-going legal action cases instituted by the commission before the National Industrial Court (NIC) on issues of non-remittance of contributions.
Further to the Commission’s strategy of driving compliance through the conduct of public awareness programmes, the Commission has continued to organize sensitization workshops and trainings on the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for employers’ associations/unions, labour unions and state governments to enlighten and encourage them to key into the Scheme, as well as to ensure smooth implementation. Such workshops and trainings focusing on state governments have covered members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, employees of the Oyo State Government, management and staff of the Zamfara State Pension Commission, Zamfara State Local Governments Pension Board, Kaduna State Pension Bureau, Abia, Ekiti and Benue States CPS implementation committees, and pension desk officers of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, area councils as well as those of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the FCTA. The commission through its zonal offices conducted a total of 23 enlightenment campaigns on the CPS in all the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Commission issued a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) Licence to Nigerian University Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), allowing staff members of universities whole elect to move their RSAs to the PFA to do so.
The attestation of the success recorded by CPS 2014 can best be seen from reversal of the plan to exit the CPS by large chunk of the para-military as proposed by an amendment to the 2014 Act. At the public hearing on the proposed bill, important stakeholders namely, the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Employees Consultative Association, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Pension Commission, Nigerian Union of Pensioners and Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria, among others, ended up passing a vote of confidence on the scheme. (Premium Times, 2017, cited in Uzor & Anekwe, 2018).
The improvements and gains recorded in the implementation of 2014 pension Act should be commended, but we are not to shy away from lapses already noticed which need to be addressed head-on.
There are reported cases of private employers who fail to remit their contributions or deductions from employees pay to the employees’ RSAs. Allowing accumulation of such backlogs only makes it more difficult to fulfill such obligation and impacts negatively on the growth of the employees’ RSA accounts thereby contravening the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014 which states in section 11 subsection 3(b) that the employer shall not later than 7 working days from the day the employee is paid his salary remit an amount comprising the employee’s contribution under paragraph (a) of this subsection and the employer’s contribution to the PFC specified by the PFA of the employee (Abdulazeez, 2015; Agabi, 2017). Though the law stipulated a 2% penalty on unremitted funds, often times some organizations escape unpunished.
The vision by PenCom to be a pension industry with 20 million contributors by 2019, appear to be increasingly difficult to attain. A March 2019 Pension Fund Assets report by the National Pension Commission stated that less than 12.3% of Nigeria’s 70 million-strong workforce, representing a meagre 8.57 million workers, are currently enrolled in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). This is alarming, considering the fact that the CPS has been in operation for more than 14 years. This statistics negates the objective behind its establishment. This figure portends an uncertain future for the majority of Nigerian workers because it excludes the chunk from preparing adequately for life in retirement. Distressingly, youths below the age of 30 who make up over half of the country’s population only accounts for 9.53% of the pension accounts (PenCom Assets Report of March, 2019). The reason cannot be far-fetched from the high youth unemployment rate of 55.4% (NBS, 2018). The major challenge with coverage appears to be a lack of confidence in the scheme by potential contributors mainly from failures of previous policies on pension management. There are also issues of fear of continuity and sustainability by successive governments, as well as misconception and knowledge gap (Abdulazeez, 2015). On the whole, there are fewer enrollments within the informal sector, and amongst the states’ civil service. Some states are still at the bill proposal stage while some, though have passed the CPS law, are yet to commence full implementation. The situation is more noxious in states where governments owe salary arrears. Sensitization strategy of the PenCom seems insufficient enough to drive up coverage. Federal public sector compliance is high as participation is compulsory and well enforced. However, enforcement of the compulsory status of the scheme on private firms fell below expectations. This could be attributed in part to the lack of comprehensive database of employers of labour in the country which puts a big clog in the wheel of enforcement by the regulator (Nwanne, 2015).
Returns on investments have been another challenge. High inflation rate over the years have eroded the value of workers’ savings. Usually, these funds are often invested in safe, low-yielding government securities, however new pension legislation have encouraged PFAs to diversify beyond government securities for higher returns. The volatile and risky business environment in Nigeria portends greater risks to these funds. Abdulazeez (2015) also stated that one of the major pension funds challenges is limited array of potential investments in local capital markets. Pension fund investments are generally limited to investment-grade instruments which are in short supply in emerging capital markets in Nigeria.
Generally, low income levels in Nigeria will entail a low balance in RSA on retirement. This will mean that a withdrawal of the minimum 25 percent lump sum allowed from RSA by low income earners will leave them with RSA balance that fall short of guaranteeing periodic payments, leaving such persons without dignified retirement lives (Uzor & Anekwe, 2018).
The chaos and scandals associated with pension scheme in the time past now appear to have been stifled. The long queues and never-ending verification exercises have all ceased. The unique nature of the new scheme has brought with it, accessibility, inclusivity, greater scrutiny and transparency, thereby increasing confidence of workers in the scheme. PenCom boasted of not recording any incidence of fraud or mismanagement or misapplication of pension fund assets under the new scheme since it took off.
Beyond provision of financial security for workers after retirement, the assets in Trillions of Naira contributes significantly in funding the critical areas of the economy as these funds are invested in the stock market, government bonds and infrastructure rejuvenation. These funds have deepened the capacity of Nigeria’s financial services sector (insurance industry inclusive), and have provided capitals that drive social programs of government thereby providing the favorable environment for the expansion of the real sector of the economy. Pension assets have also been credited with the development of the Corporate Bond Market as well as deepening the Nigerian capital market.
With these gains, comes with some peculiar challenges, mostly the issues of coverage, especially from the informal and private sectors, remittance of contributions and harnessing of appropriate investment opportunities. Recommendations were however made on ways to strengthen the scheme, so as to keep delivering on its objectives.
The following recommendations are made to address the issues raised in the implementation of the scheme. These will require the joint efforts of both the parliament and the PenCom in addressing the challenges.
The penalty of non-remittance of deductions in section 11, subsection 7 of the Act should be made stiffer. An amendment to the Act stipulating increment from 2% to 5% of the unremitted funds would be more compelling on defaulting organizations.
PenCom can be empowered through amendment to the act to set up a database of all existing companies and their workforce, in partnership with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This will enhance efforts towards compliance and coverage especially amongst the private sector.
To encourage compliance by the state governments, PenCom should be more strategic in their sensitization approach. They need to co-opt the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in ramping up pressures at the State government.
The control of the state and workings of Nigerian entire economy and business environment is beyond the purview of the PenCom, therefore efforts at creating a viable economy lie squarely at the foot of government. The implication is that efforts should be redoubled at continually improving the economy so as to guarantee the safety of investments by the PFAs. On the part of PenCom, additional efforts and technical expertise should be deployed in evaluating and scrutinizing investment opportunities based on their merits so as to guarantee proper utilization and protection of pension funds.
Part III, Section 7 of the 2014 Pension Act should be amended to include an option of voluntary withdrawal of whole-sum savings in the RSA by very low income earners with retirement savings of less than 2,000,000 Naira on retirement. This will provide a significant lump-sum to begin life after retirement.
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