Worried by the growing public outcry over the non remittance of pension funds estimated at over N5 billion, the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, directed its Committee on Pensions to commence investigation as to why employers of labour are defaulting.
The committee is also expected to get ” a comprehensive report on the operations of the scheme so far, including the list of defaulting employers and the amount involved and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.”
The directive was sequel to the adoption of the prayers of a motion titled: ” Threat to the continuation of the Contributory Pensions Scheme by non-remittance of workers contributions by Employers,” sponsored by a member, Joseph Edionwele.
Justifying the need for the motion, the lawmaker recalled “that the Pension Reform Act of 2004 established a contributory pensions scheme for the payment of retirement benefits of employees in both the public service and the private sector to avoid the sufferings of retirees under the old scheme.
“It is the responsibility of the employer to remit both the employers and employees contributions to the Pension Assets Custodian specified in Pension Fund Administrator ( PFA) of the employee within seven days that the deduction is made from the salary of the employee.”
He however said it was disheartening to note that things are no longer working because “the pension scheme appears to have run into a headwind as the Pensions Act is observed more in the breach by both the employers and the Pensions Fund Administrators (PFAs), which necessitated the 2014 amendment stipulating stiffer sanctions.”
A visibly worried Edionwele expressed regret that billions of Naira already deducted from the salaries of employees, are not remitted by employers.
He said besides this, “there are many employers that are yet to open retirement savings accounts for their employees which may precipitate a debt crisis that could jeopardise the smooth and successful operation of the scheme, thus leading to even more suffering for Pensioners under the scheme.”
Expectedly when the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara called for a voice vote, all members supported its passage.
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