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Pension reform risks credibility, test tinkering

Effort at repositioning the Nigeria’s pension reform to attain global reckoning may be a fluke, if ongoing attempts to tamper with the Pension Reform Act (PRA) as amended in 2014, sails through.

Such tinkering, aligned with government’s proposal to except some agencies of government from contributory pension scheme, it has been argued, would erode confidence in the pension reform and other reform initiatives of the Federal Government.

The National Pension Commission (PenCom), at the recent public hearing to amend Pension Reform Act 2014, in Abuja, disclosed in it submission that trust, confidence, credibility and transparency, among other qualities are needed by the government and its agencies to drive governance as well as the pension reforms where trust is the main product tied to pension services.

According to the pension regulator, “If the amendment is allowed, the growing culture of national savings built within the last decade would be shattered,” arguing that if the bill sails through, “the investible fund of over N6.7trillion will be thrown into crisis that will affect the economy.

It added that due to the successful implementation of the pension reform, the discipline with which the industry players have been discharging their responsibilities and the resultant impact on the Nigerian economy, foreign investors have invested heavily in some major Pension Fund Administrators.

Pencom’s Acting Director-General, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said, “There are still some expressions of interest by foreign investors to obtain stakes in the pension administration business in Nigeria. Indeed, the private sector, including these foreign investors in the Nigerian financial sector and the Nigerian economy, would question the commitment of Government to pension and other reforms due to such policy reversals.”

A former PenCom Board Member, and Director, Centre for Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor, said if passed into law, the bill would bring un-intended outcomes, that may negatively affect industrial relations in the country, and the economy.

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