Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, have been asked to appear before the House of Representatives over alleged discrepancies in the remittance of N33 billion pension deductions by National Pension Commission.
The House on Thursday, asked them to appear before its ad hoc committee on Tuesday, April 9, to investigate the activities of PenCom and its administrators.
Chairman of the committee, Johnson Agbonayinma (APC-Edo), gave the directive at a public hearing in Abuja. He explained that the invitation was necessary to clarify noticeable discrepancies in the pension deductions claimed to have been remitted by Aisha Dahir-Umar, Acting Director-General of PenCom.
Agbonayinma added that submissions by the apex bank governor and the AGF would guide the committee in wrapping up the investigative hearing.
According to him, the outcome of the investigation is in the interest of Nigerian pensioners and the public.
“This ad hoc committee invites the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and the Accountant-General of the Federation to appear before it on Tuesday, April 9, to clarify issues surrounding the money claimed to have been remitted by PenCom,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Contributory Pensioners has said that “the new pension scheme has compounded, rather than alleviated, problems faced by retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme.”
In a memorandum submitted to the ad hoc committee by the union and signed by its leaders, Messrs U.C. Ekpo and Emezuru Eugene, NUCP attributed the problems faced by contributory pensioners to some of the faulty provisions of the 2014 Pension Act (as amended).
“From the look of things, the essence of the new pension scheme is to create capital for the Pension Fund Administrators to maximise profits and enrich themselves.
“Worse still, PenCom, which is empowered to strictly enforce the Pension Reform Act in regulating the activities of PFAs and Pension Custodians, has become a violator of the same Act in many ways,” they said.
The union identified alleged unwholesome practices by PenCom to include lack of review of contributors’ pension every five years as provided in Section 173 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Others include persistent delay in payment of retirees’ benefits to over two years; lack of standardised template and transparency in computation of lump sums paid after retirement; and gender inequality in the payment of lump sums, which, they argued, contravenes the Pension Reform Act.
The NUCP further noted that the sum total of anomalies and injustices perpetrated by PenCom in its implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme led to suffering, pain and premature death of pensioners in Nigeria.
They, however, called on PenCom to confine itself to its functions as a regulator rather than meddling in the union’s activities.