Speaking during her welcome remarks at the PenCom 2021 Journalists’ Workshop, Aisha Dahir-Umar, Director General, National Pension Commission (PENCOM) disclosed that aimed of the training is at contributing and strengthening the capacity of the media personnel in ensuring effective reportage of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and other related pension issues.
The PenCom’s Journalists Workshop was held on 26-27, July,2021 which was organized by the Commission at Ikeja, Lagos
Dahir-Umar statement was delivered by Peter Agahawa, the head, Corporate Communications department of the Commission saying it is the expectation of the Commission that the Workshop would provide updates on its current transformational initiatives and strengthen the Commission’s collaboration with the media.
“There have been significant developments since 2019 when the last workshop was held in Benin City. The Workshop could not hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic necessitated a review of business processes across various organizations; indeed, it has engendered socio-economic disruptions of the entire global order, with multifarious challenges in conducting hitherto routine activities. It was therefore, imperative for the Commission to deepen technological innovation as it seeks to navigate through the challenges imposed by the pandemic. The theme of this workshop; “Positioning the Pension Industry in a Post COVID Era” highlights the Commission’s laudable response to the pandemic through technology and engagement with relevant stakeholders.
“The Commission is not unmindful of your critical role in disseminating factual information to its stakeholders. It is therefore, imperative to continually interact and apprise you with recent developments in the pension industry and some of the Commission’s major activities.
The most recent technological innovation introduced by the Commission is the in-house designed and developed online Enrolment Application, which has capabilities to register, verify and enroll prospective retirees of Treasury-Funded Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). By the deployment of this new application, mass gathering of people has been avoided while enhancing convenience for the prospective retirees through a seamless enrolment process. Another notable technological innovation by the Commission was the design and deployment of the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) Transfer System (RTS), which was launched in November 2020. The RTS is a Computer Application developed by the Commission, through which RSA holders transfer their RSAs from one Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to another. Indeed, the activation of the RSA transfer provision, which deepens individual choices, is a major milestone in the implementation of the CPS.
Furthermore, Dahir-Umar, said it is pertinent to reassure stakeholders that the implementation of the CPS remains on course. The number of registered contributors under the CPS has grown to 9.38 million while pension fund assets have accumulated to N12.66 trillion as at 30 June 2021, she added.
“The maintenance of a consistent growth trajectory continues to justify the Commission’s overriding investment philosophy of ensuring the safety of pension fund assets.
According to her the sessions at this Workshop will commence with a presentation on the Commission’s Strategic Focus Areas. These comprise areas of emphasis that are pursued vigorously towards the attainment of the Commission’s objectives. Public Enlightenment and Education is one of the five Strategic Focus Areas currently pursued by the Commission. This is considered germane considering that seventeen years after the pension reform in Nigeria, there still exists a knowledge gap on the CPS.
Consequently, the Commission is committed to reinvigorating its public enlightenment and education drive in order to address this challenge, she stressed.
Other Strategic Focus Areas include the resolution of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government; portfolio diversification of pension fund investments, improvement in customer service delivery across the pension industry and unrelenting pursuit of sustainable growth of the pension industry by expanding coverage of the CPS.
The DG further noted that the second presentation at this Workshop titled ‘Understanding the RSA Transfer Process’, provides insights into the features of the RSA Transfer System (RTS), which enables the seamless transfer of RSAs from one PFA to another. The third presentation is on the online Enrolment Application for verification and enrolment of prospective retirees of Treasury-Funded MDAs.
She expressed the Commission’s immense gratitude and the commendable support in reporting the activities of the pension industry. While noted that the ultimate goal of this workshop is to impart sufficient knowledge about the topical issues to enable you educate the public.