The management of Nigerian Pension Commission through the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 has expanded coverage of the contributory pension scheme (CPS) to the self-employed and persons working in organizations with less than 3 employees.
According to the Commission, this category of workers constitute the larger percentage of the working population in the country, there is no doubt that to achieve the Pension Industry’s strategic objective of covering 30% of the working population in Nigeria under the CPS by the end of 2024, all efforts should be on deck to extend coverage to this important segment of the Nigerian economy.
In addition, due to their widely dispersed nature and generally low and irregular incomes, there is need to provide a pension plan that would meet their special characteristics. In this regard, the Micro Pension Plan initiative has been conceived within the context of an industry wide strategy to bring this class of workers on board.
In implementing this initiative, the commission said, the informal sector has been segmented into three broad categories. And they as follows; the low income earners, the high income earners and the SMEs and each of these categories is going to be targeted with appropriate pension products and sensitization programmes that meet their peculiarities.
However, it is evident that a robust technological platform that would support the provision of customer services is necessary to effectively and efficiently register, collect contributions, provide Retirement Savings Account support, pay benefits and provide financial advisory services to this class of workers.
The report noted that coincidently, special mobile phone applications had been successfully implemented in some jurisdictions for financial transactions including provision of pension services to the self-employed and informal sector workers. The success stories of these applications drives the confidence that similar platform can be designed and implemented in Nigeria.
Consequently, the Commission had already commenced the sensitization of service providers and relevant regulators as well as the targeted workers in the informal sector with a view of creating the enabling environment and buy-in.
In addition, a Department has been established in the Commission to drive the implementation of the Micro Pension Plan.