PenCom Recovers N24.53bn Pension Contributions From Defaulting Employers
From Anthony Nwachukwu, Abuja
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has recovered about N24.53 billion as pension contributions owed workers by defaulting employers.
Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, disclosed this yesterday at the 2023 Labour Writers Association of Nigeria (LAWAN) Workshop in Lagos.
She was represented by the Head of Corporate Communications of PenCom, Mr Abdulqadir Dahiru.
The workshop had the theme: “Securing the Future: The Benefits of the Contributory Pension Scheme to Nigerian Workers”.
Dahir-Umar said that the amount was recovered from June 2012 to March 31, 2023.
According to her, of the recovered sum, N12.44 billion is actual pension contribution while N12.09 billion is penalty.
She said that during the first quarter of 2023, N384.28 million (comprising N193.06 million contributions and N191.22 million penalties) was recovered from 34 defaulting employers.
According to her, PenCom is committed to protecting workers’ interests and ensuring that employers pay pension contributions as and when due.
Dahiru-Umar added that PenCom was determined to ensure that Nigerian workers would receive their retirement benefits in time.
She said that the commission’s meticulous regulation and supervision of the pension industry had ensured that pension assets and the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) membership continued to grow.
According to her, the value of pension assets stood at N15.58 trillion as at March 31, while CPS membership was 9.95 million.
She noted that in 2022, PenCom launched a policy allowing Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders to utilise a portion of their retirement savings as equity for mortgages.
She said that the policy marked a significant milestone in the commission’s ongoing efforts to provide greater flexibility and access to pension funds for the benefit of RSA holders.
“We recognise that many individuals face challenges in securing adequate housing upon retirement, and we aim to address this issue by unlocking the value of their pension savings to facilitate homeownership.
“Under this new policy, RSA holders who have contributed to their accounts for at least five years and met specific eligibility criteria can utilise up to 25 per cent of their pension savings as equity contribution towards acquiring residential properties.
“This policy aligns with our commitment to ensuring that pension funds catalyse economic development and social well-being,” she said.
Dahiru-Umar added that RSA holders could access 25 per cent of their RSA balance to cushion the effect of job loss if they could not secure another employment after four months of job loss.
She said that the partial withdrawal from RSA was to offer immediate support during a difficult period.
According to her, the remaining balance in the RSA will continue to grow and accumulate until the RSA holder attains retirement age.
The director-general urged LAWAN members to approach the workshop with an open mind and commitment to excellence in journalism.
She expressed optimism that enhancing journalists’ understanding of pensions would equip them better to educate members of the public, dispel misconceptions and foster financial planning culture and security among Nigerian workers.
“We firmly believe that a well-informed and engaged media plays a vital role in driving information flow and positive change in our society.
“As writers and journalists, you can shape public opinion and influence policy discussions.
“Therefore, we must work together to ensure accurate and comprehensive reporting on pension-related matters, which are of great significance to the well-being and future of Nigerian workers,” she said. (NAN)
Senate Defers Valedictory Session to Saturday
Trailed by unresolved wrangling over the election of its principal officers in the 10th assembly, the Senate yesterday postponed its earlier announced valedictory session.
The Green Chamber is yet to agree on who occupies what position in the incoming Senate principal officers’ election, following the All Progressives Congress (APC) to allocate the positions to the six geo-political zones of the country.
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had zoned the Senate Presidency of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly to the South-South; and the Speakership of the House of Representatives to the North-West.The party also zoned the Deputy Senate Presidency to the North-West, and Deputy Speakership to the South-East.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, announced yesterday that the Senate has rescheduled its valedictory session to Saturday.
On the other hand, the House Representatives yesterday held its Valedictory Session.
Lawan had announced on Tuesday that the Upper Chamber would hold its valedictory session on Thursday.
The Senate President told members of the Senate Press Corps that the shift in the date was due to a scheduled meeting of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the lawmakers of the incoming 10th National Assembly on Thursday.
The Senate held plenary on Tuesday as well as yesterday.
“By the grace of God, we will still hold plenary today and then our valedictory session will be on Saturday.
“It is because tomorrow, Mr President, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be meeting with the Senators-elect and members-elect at 2pm.
“And we believe that a session as significant, important, historical and memorable as valedictory session of the Senate requires a whole day. Not one, two, three hours. And therefore we pushed it to Saturday,” Lawan said.
The Ninth Senate officially ends its four-year tenure on 11th June, 2023.
Lawan hinted that the 10th Senate would be inaugurated on Tuesday, 13th June, 2023.
Memories, Emotions as Reps Dissolve 9th Assembly
By Eze Okechukwu & Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
Memories and emotions went high yesterday during the valedictory session of the House of Representatives, as Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila officially dissolved the 9th assembly.
Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House, had moved a motion to commence the valedictory session, while Rep Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader seconded the motion.
Gbajabiamila, in his valedictory speech, said: “I will miss all of you and miss this house, you have enriched my life and I cannot express how much you have impacted the house.
In an emotion laden speech, Gbajabiamila said the joint efforts in nation building by members were to ensure that the dreams of the nation’s founding fathers did not die.
“We have come, we have seen and while we are yet to conquer, my enthusiasm to serve remained undiminished,” he said.
According to him, it has been the honour of his life to serve the people of the country.
“I thank my constituency and I express gratitude to my colleagues for the privilege to serve.”
He said since he assumed office, the house had changed drastically in such a manner he had not witnessed, adding that the change came with speed as witnessed in the last four years.
He said the 9th House of Reps had governed well with some interventions, including COVID-19 pandemic, Police Reform Bill, Electoral Acts Amendment Bill, Constitutional Review, among others.
“We have worked to take advantage of social and economic transformation that benefit us; we have left our mark on every sectors of our national life,” he said.
He said the House was able to introduce discipline on the Appropriation Act that now commenced from January to December of every year.
According to him, the 9th House of Reps has ended and the 10th will commence.
“I urge you to ensure that you are not found wanting by man or God in the final judgment.”
Also, Rep. Julius Ihovhre (APC-Edo), said he would forever cherish the friendship he made in the 9th assembly, adding that such relationship would last forever.
He commended the speaker for leading the house well and perfectly and demonstrated that he could manage a diverse group of people.
“In your new roles as the Chief of Staff to the President, the challenges you will face are more than here, we plead with you not to abandon the spirit of excellence,” he said.
He said Nigeria required the kind of leader with a sense of mission, while urging Gbajabiamila to ensure the Federal Government paid attention to basic education.
Rep. Luke Onofiong (PDP-Akwa-Ibom) said members had made relationships that would last forever and commended his constituency for giving him the privilege to serve.
He commended the speaker for accommodating members and relaxing the rules to give new members a voice, noting that the speaker was gentle enough to accommodate their errors.
He urged the house to take the judiciary seriously with salary review.
Rep. Yusuf Gadgi (APC-Plateau) on his part said, “In my constituency, Muslims are 30 per cent while Christians constitute 70 per cent but they have always sent me here and for using me as a good example of how Nigeria should behave.
“What I want to say is the message of forgiveness, I want, on your behalf and other members, to forgive one another. In this assignment, we must have offended one another.
His comment on forgiveness generated some uproar, as members grumbled endlessly.
Unperturbed, Gagdi said “irrespective of the grumbling, what is right is right and people must learn to forgive others”.
Rep. Aisha Duku (APC-Borno) expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the first woman to represent her constituency.
“Mr Speaker you have blessed me to bless others, I have changed the perspective of politics in my area because this is the first time that a Fulani woman and a Muslim will come out from that area.
“I have been able to enlighten people and bring out the women to vote, which hitherto they had not.
“I have participated in Bills assented to by the president and today they are laws, I commend my committee as the Chairman, House Committee on INEC, for supporting me.
Duku said she was now a better Nigerian, as she traveled to a lot of places in the country but her only regret was that no gender bill was passed.
In attendance at the session of the 9th assembly were former speakers, House Leader such as Gali Na’abba, Patricia Etteh, Mulikat Akande and some former clerks of NASS.
Tinubu Directs NEC to Work on Subsidy Removal Palliatives
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu, yesterday directed the National Economic Council (NEC) led by Vice President Kashim Shettima to device an approach and begin the process of working on interventions to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal on the Nigerians.
Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, stated this after leading some major oil marketers on a courtesy visit to the President at the State House in Abuja.
Addressing correspondents after the meeting, Abiodun, who was a former chairman of the oil marketers association, stated that the marketers expressed solidarity with the President for removing the N4trn subsidy burden, a move that can enhance the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation to states.
The group of marketers subsequently announced their intention to donate to 50 to 100, fifty-seater mass transit buses that would run on CNG, costing N100m each and N10bn cumulatively, to cushion the effect of the removal within the next 30 days.
They are hoping other corporate bodies can emulate their action.
The President’s meeting with the oil marketers comes amid the controversy and protests trailing the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol.
President Tinubu, during his inaugural speech on May 29 at the Eagle Square in Abuja had announced the removal of subsidy payment on petrol. The President said that the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari did not make provisions for subsidy in the 2023 budget beyond June.
Many Nigerians had expected that the new price regime would come into effect by July 1 but almost immediately after the presidential pronouncement, queues resurfaced at filling stations across the country even as retail outlets hoard the product and increase prices.
Already, a litre of petrol is being sold at over N500 across the country following NNPC price adjustment and the presidential pronouncement on subsidy removal.
Fuel queues have since surged for the vital commodity, compounding the traffic situation in parts of the country, even as transportation cost skyrocket to more than 100% increment.
The Organised Labour had resolved to embark on a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday but was restrained by a court order of Monday, June 5, 2023. The Organised Labour subsequently shelved its planned strike after a meeting with the Federal Government late Monday.
Read Our ePaper
Gov. Bago Inspects Site of Demolished Police Station in Niger
Share Post Views: 95 Gov. Umaru Bago of Niger, on Thursday inspected the site of a police station demolished by...
Why no Woman Should Die From Cervical Cancer
Share Post Views: 85 Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women in Nigeria and the fourth most...
Council Chairman Imposes Dusk-to-dawn Curfew on 3 Communities in Ebonyi
Share Post Views: 67 Chairman of Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi, Mr Chinonso Ajah has imposed a dusk- to-dawn...
Panic in Anambra Assembly as Armed Men Try to Whisk Away Member-elect
Share Post Views: 48 There was panic at the Anambra State House of Assembly as four armed men, suspected to...
Marketers Kick Over Anambra Govt’s Plan to Demolish 13 Petroleum Outlets for Flyover Project
Share Post Views: 139 The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has lamented the proposed demolition of 13 functional...
Oil Spillage: NOSDRA, Stakeholders Move to Tackle Menace
Share Post Views: 72 The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, (NOSDRA), has called on stakeholders in the petroleum...
Senate Approves N6.7bn as Refund for Kebbi for Road Repairs
Share Post Views: 132 The Senate has approved payment of N6.7 billion to Kebbi Government as refund for repairs carried...
Why I Left U.S. for Politics in Nigeria – Osun Speaker
Share Post Views: 177 Mr Adewale Egbedun, the Speaker of Osun House of Assembly, on Thursday, said he returned to...
10th NASS Proclamation: Court Extends Order Stopping EFCC, Others From Detaining Yari
Share Post Views: 85 A Federal HighCourt, Abuja has extended the order restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),...
Gov. Mbah Assures Assembly Members elect of Healthy Working Relationship
Share Post Views: 71 Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State has promised a healthy working partnership between the Executive and...