The Pension Operators (PenoP) said the bill seeking to exclude workers of the National Assembly from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) is disturbing and will be detrimental to the CPS.
Recall that the House of Representatives recently agreed to exempt staff of the National Assembly from the Contributory Pension Scheme and to establish the National Assembly Service Pensions Board.
The bill sponsored by Olododo Cook, chairman of the House Committee on National Planning and Economic Development, had passed the second reading and with the approval, it would be slated for the final (third reading) and passage into law.
However, PenoP while reacting through their CEO, Oguche Agudah, yesterday said the passage did not align to standard rules, adding that the sector has come a long way and cannot afford to be returned to the old days.
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He said Nigeria’s pension industry has grown over the last 18 years since the Pension Reform Act (PRA) was initially enacted in 2004. The industry has ensured that the average Nigerian worker is able to retire in peace and dignity as the act brought about the professionalisation of pension fund administration and the growth of the pension industry in Nigeria.
“Over the last number of years, we have seen many actors try to reverse these gains, usually from seeking to amend the act that would allow groups of people to leave the scheme.
“These acts are typically done through legislative actions as certain groups sponsor bills to exit the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) as reports have come to our attention stating that a bill for an act to amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014, to Exclude/Exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme and Establish the National Assembly Service Pension Board; and for Related Matters (HB 2025) has been passed by the House of Representatives to exempt the National Assembly staff from the Contributory Pension Scheme by establishing a National Assembly Pension Board.
“We are not convinced that this bill was passed in “good” faith. We also believe that an important bill of this nature should go through the standard and due legislative processes. One of such processes is the convening of a public hearing where all stakeholders that are affected by the bill are invited to discuss and engage,” he explained.
Agudah added that all the stakeholders like the workers union, labour, the Pension Fund Operators, the Regulators, employers of labour and other critical stakeholders were not engaged in the process.
Speaking further, the operators association also said they were reliably informed that some principal officers of the house who normally should oversee the passage of bills were unavoidably absent, bringing the integrity of the process into question.