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PenCom drags 120 firms to court over non-remittance of pension contributions

By JAMES NWABUEZE in Lagos

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has dragged about 120 companies to court for non-compliance with the law on contributory pension remittances by employers of labour, Director, Corporate Communications of the Commission, Mr Peter Aghahowa has disclosed.

Speaking earlier today in Lagos at the 2021 PenCom workshop for journalists, Aghaghowa assured that the Commission was working assiduously to ensure all pension laws were complied with, disclosing that recovery agents had been engaged to ensure that funds that ought to be remitted to PenCom were not diverted under any guise.

“For the private sector, we engaged recovery agents. By the PRA (the 2014 Pension Reform Act), recovery agents have been engaged to ensure that funds that ought to be remitted to PenCom are not diverted under any guise, any company with more than three workers must key into the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS). So, the recovery agents have been empowered. Once they check the books of companies, they will determine their liabilities,” Aghaghowa said. “We have the employee and employer portion remittances. For those not remitting at all, there is a penalty.

“We have 120 cases in court and these are organisations we tried to work with and they were just recalcitrant. Going to court  is the last resort because the goal is for the money to the RSAs. We always try to engage.

“In states, they have to enact and implement the CPS. We work with them in coming up with a bill and setting up a pension bureau.

“Most states have not implemented this well. In enforcing compliance here, you should tread softly. Accrued rights have been paid up,” he said.

Earlier in her remarks at the event, the Director General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar revealed that the Commission has deepened technological innovation as it seeks to navigate through the challenges imposed by the pandemic.

“The most recent technological innovation introduced by the Commission is the in-house designed and developed online Enrolment Application, which has capabilities to register, verify and enroll prospective retirees of Treasury-Funded Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). By the deployment of this new application, mass gathering of people has been avoided while enhancing convenience for the prospective retirees through a seamless enrolment process,” she said.

“Another notable technological innovation by the Commission was the design and deployment of the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) Transfer System (RTS), which was launched in November 2020. The RTS is a Computer Application developed by the Commission, through which RSA holders transfer their RSAs from one Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to another. Indeed, the activation of the RSA transfer provision, which deepens individual choices, is a major milestone in the implementation of the CPS.”

The PenCom boss, who spoke through Aghahowa, added that the number of registered contributors under the CPS has grown to 9.38 million while pension fund assets have accumulated to N12.66 trillion as at 30 June 2021.

“The maintenance of a consistent growth trajectory continues to justify the Commission’s overriding investment philosophy of ensuring the safety of pension fund assets,” she added.

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