Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Pension assets hits N8.23trn

Nigeria’s pension asset has risen to N8.23trillion as contributors to the Contributory Pension Scheme grew by 312,291 at the end of the second quarter of 2018.

Figures from the National Pension Commission, PenCom, suggest that that the number of contributors into the scheme rose from 7.89million in December 2017, to 8.14million in June 2018.

The commission in its report states that, “The net assets value of the pension assets of the contributory pension fund was N8.23tn as of June, 2018. This represents an increase of N716.94bn up from the value of N7.52tn as of 31st December, 2017. This increase is attributed to new contributions received, interest/coupon from fixed income securities and net realised/unrealised gains on equities and mutual fund investments.”

PenCom noted that operators had invested a substantial part of the pension funds in the Federal Government’s bonds, treasury bills and state government securities.

The report further stated that some of the money was invested in agency bonds, supra-national bonds, commercial papers, foreign money market securities, and open/close-end funds.

Other investment portfolios where the operators invested the funds are Real Estate Investment Trusts, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, cash and other assets.

It explained that in order to improve the monthly pension payment to retirees under the CPS, the commission initiated the pension enhancement programme, adding that returns being generated by the PFAs on the balances of the RSAs of majority of retirees could be used to enhance their monthly pensions.

Consequently, the commission sought for and obtained the approval of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to implement the pension enhancement, which resulted in increased monthly pensions for most retirees receiving pension under the Programmed Withdrawal arrangement.

The PFAs have therefore commenced the enhancement of pensions of all retirees under the Programmed Withdrawal with effect from December 2017, stressing that the implementation of the pension enhancement is one of the significant milestones attained since the commencement of the CPS.

According to PenCom, the CPS has workable internal mechanisms to respond to legitimate demands of retirees as they seek a reasonable retirement income.

Meanwhile, the commission has started verifying and enrolling over 2,700 federal civil servants from the Federal Capital Territory and Niger State. The exercise is part of the phase two of the nationwide programme, which is also ongoing in two other centres in Lagos and Ibadan.

PenCom’s head of Corporate Communications, Peter Aghahowa, clarified that the phase one had already been concluded in 12 other centres across the nation.

He said “the exercise is meant for employees in the service of the Federal Government who are due to retire between January and December, 2019 by virtue of attaining 60 years of age or 35 years in service, whichever is earlier, or 65 years by age for employees of tertiary institutions or 70 years of age for professors.

Aghahowa said the purpose of the exercise was to facilitate the payment of their retirement benefits.

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