PenCom establishes special unit to drive micro-pension
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has established a special unit to coordinate micro-pension scheme in the country. This was disclosed by the Director-General (PenCom), Mrs. ChineloAnohu-Amazu, during the social media week in Lagos recently.
She said that in implementing the micro pension initiative, the informal sector has been categorized into, the low income earners, the high income earners and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Each of these categories will be targeted with corresponding pension products and sensitization that meet their peculiarities.
The DG maintained that PenCom will ensure that a robust technological platform is put in place to drive the initiative as special mobile phone application that have been used in some platforms for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers will be adopted.
Mrs. Anohu-Amazu emphasized that contrary to the speculations, the pension funds are not lying idle as the funds are invested in profit yielding federal government bonds, stocks and other ethical investment windows; adding that all investments must abide by the investment guidelines as enshrined in the Pension Reform Act 2014.
However, she noted that the pension assets are contributions of workers who have decided to save part of their legitimate earnings as pension in a bid to enjoy these savings after retirement hence they need to get all their entitlements as and when due.
Meanwhile, the Pension Industry Operators (PenOp) are canvassing for a modification of policy and regulation regarding investment of Pensions funds to bridge infrastructure deficit in the country.
They appreciated National Pension Commission (PenCom) ring fencing of the fund but suggested some consideration and review of existing engagement rule to create opportunities for investment in that critical area.
In her paper entitled: ”Investment of Pension Funds, Processes- Challenges, Risks and Rewards” Abimbola Sulaiman, Head, Investments at Pension Alliance Limited, noted that current regulations prescribed that maximum possible spend on infrastructure is N682 billion or $3.4 billion.
Sulaiman said that when considered that an estimated $3 trillion is required over a period of 30 years to cover infrastructure deficit according to the National Integrated Infrastructure the limit of spending is grossly inadequate.
She said government should consider the introduction of infrastructure bond as the surest way to introduce majority of pension funds with infrastructure investment.
According to her, bonds should be tied to specific projects issued with government guarantees and issued at project completion or close to cash flow generation.
Listing challenges with risks around government support for infrastructure investment, Sulaiman said there is regulatory instability, inadequate viable Public Private sector Partnership, legal framework, high bidding and fragmentation of market among different levels of government.