THE Director-General of the National Pension Commission Hajiya Aisha Dahir-Umar, has disclosed the intention of the Commission to review the Pension Reform Act 2014 stating that it has identified some areas in the current pension legislation that needed to be reviewed.
The Director-General told participants a retreat organised by PenCom in Abuja that the 2014 Act codified one of the most important socio-economic initiatives of the federal government, leading to the emergence of an industry that now has assets in excess of N13 trillion.
She stated that the review has become necessary following the discovery of some implementation challenges encountered in certain sections of the existing law.
“This is in addition to persistent calls from stakeholders for the amendment of some sections… which resulted in several legislative initiatives through sponsorship of bills for amendment of the PRA 2014 by the National Assembly.
“Consequently, the commission…decided to coordinate and harmonise the various efforts to achieve a more comprehensive and constructive exercise for the review of the PRA 2014,” she added.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, said the 2004 Act was reviewed in 2014 having been implemented for 10 years.
Senator Shekarau said the National Assembly and PenCom were being proactive by initiating the second review less than 10 years since the first review in response to the dynamism of the industry.
He said all laws are never perfect and in the case of PRA, between 2014 and now, several developments have necessitated a review of the legislation. Furthermore, he stated that since his assumption of duty in the Senate, saddled with responsibility for pension matters, he has received several submissions from stakeholders requesting for a review of some sections of the PRA 2014.
He noted that not all the agitations for the review of the PRA 2014 are backed by sound arguments, but they show a need for a review of the pension legislation.
Also speaking at the retreat, the Chairman, House Committee on Pension, Hon. Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, stated that attempts were made to review some provisions of the PRA 2014 by the 8th National Assembly, but the process was not concluded owing to some issues. He therefore expressed the commitment of the Committee in ensuring a diligent review of the PRA 2014.
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, cautioned against policies that will undermine the CPS, including agitations to exempt some employees from the scheme as it may defeat the primary purpose of the CPS.
On his part, the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Quadri Olaleye, represented by an executive member of the TUC, Hafsat Shuaibu, cited the disruptions in the workplace as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, which makes it imperative to review the pension legislation.
On his part, the representative of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Thompson Akpabio, commended PenCom for the consultative retreat and expressed optimism that the outcome would improve the CPS. He said the review was apt, as since 2014, there have been several cases on pension matters decided in various courts and that the implications of these decisions should be considered during the review of the PRA 2014.
Present at the retreat were stakeholders from the National Assembly, Pension Fund Operators (PenOp), labour unions, employers’ union, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) amongst others.