By Kunle Adedoyin
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has alleged that states operating the Contributory Pension Scheme refused to remit about N3.4bn pension contributions deducted from their workers monthly remunerations into their respective Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) with their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
The acting Director-General, National Pension Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar, disclosed this during the second quarter consultative forum for states in Lagos on Wednesday.
The forum was attended by pension compliance officers and other stakeholders from different states and pension fund operators’ offices.
She also said that N8.09bn was remitted as pension contributions in the first quarter of 2019.
“Based on PFAs’ returns, over N3.4bn pension contributions are uncredited into state employees’ RSAs as of May 31, 2019, and the age analysis showed that over 38 per cent of this amount had been outstanding for over one year,” said Dahir-Umar.
Dahir-Umar, who was represented by the Commission’s Head, States Operations Department, Dan Ndackson, said a major item, which should occupy a pride of place during deliberations, was the recurring issue of uncredited remittances, which denied concerned employees the investment income that should have accrued to them.
She added that it was heart-warming to observe the steady progress of the implementation of the CPS in the states, especially with regards to the remittance of pension contributions.
“Returns submitted to the commission by the PFAs showed that over N8.09bn was remitted to them as pension contributions of state employees in the first quarter of 2019,” she said.
The PenCom boss informed that the second quarter had recorded remarkable achievements in ensuring seamless implementation of the CPS in states.
In this regard, she said the commission, as part of its mandate of supervising the smooth implementation of the CPS and to ensure excellent service delivery, especially in state pension administration, introduced branch inspection of PFAs in states.
Dahir-Umar reported that the commission had so far conducted three of such branch inspections in Edo, Ondo and Ekiti states.
“As more inspections of PFA branches are upcoming, the commission is currently utilising the outcomes of these inspections in ensuring that PFAs take the necessary remedial actions to ensure excellent service delivery in the pension industry,” she said.
She added that the commission’s collaboration and concerted efforts with various states had led to significant in-roads in the areas of stakeholder engagement, capacity development and implementation milestones.
She mentioned that the commission within the second quarter was able to hold meetings with the governors-elect (now governors) of Lagos and Bauchi states.
“We are also pleased to note the giant stride taken by the Benue State Government recently by enacting the Benue State Pension Reform Law 2019, in May 2019.
“Besides joining the league of states that have commenced the process of implementing the CPS, the Benue State Law incorporated all the observations made by the commission in the draft bill before passage into law.
“We are, therefore, confident that with this sound and sustainable legal framework in place, Benue State’s implementation will not face major challenges.”