Mr. Eguarekhide Longe, President of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, PenOp, has said that compliance to remittances of pension contributions from the public sector on both the Federal and State levels have lagged notably.
Longe who stated this at the Association’s annual general meeting in Lagos, said that remittances from the federal government through the National Pension Commission (Pencom) were last received for September 2015. Longo who said that some states have outstanding remittances dating back over two years, noted that private sector remittances, though impacted by the adverse economic environment, have been more consistent.
Longe said, “Amidst the dire economic challenges, aggregate pension assets under the CPS grew by 15 per cent from N4.61 trillion as at end of December 2014 to N5.3 trillion as at the end of December 2015.”
On pension funds and developmental investing, Longe said, “It is well understood that we currently are in a situation of financial stringency. However, we are not altogether deficient. Our oil still sells, we still enjoy a comparatively higher state of peace than many parts of the world. Our land is still fruitful. Judicious deployment of resources and an understanding of the concept and value of sequencing is what may be most required to see us rise as a people again.
“This preamble relates to the call to invest a greater portion of the pension funds in infrastructure. National renaissance and infrastructure investing require clear, calm, incisive and strategic thinking to achieve any notable success in their pursuit; hence the need to succeed in the ‘inner’ preparation process first. With N5.3trillion, grown over an 11-year period, careless deployment could wipe these gains out in an instant.
On the contrary, if looked at as a constituent part of National Economic Strategy, the focus will switch to how we can support the industry to grow beyond N20trillion describing broader coverage so that a national savings pool, effectively utilised, will always be available to kick-start properly conceived, internally consistent, national development initiatives. This is the conversation I believe the pension industry needs to be afforded with government and governance at all levels in our dear Nation. We need to elevate the quality of the discourse.”
Longe said that unprofessional and unfair competitive practices should really have no place in the pension industry, adding, “It is also very important that we foster unity amongst ourselves as operators. That we imbibe the discipline of speaking with one voice. Healthy, honest and open debate is important. But once positions are agreed, it is my opinion that they should be binding.