Buhari’s Board nominations legal, says PenCom

By Omobola Tolu-Kusimo

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has said the nominations of Acting Director-General (DG) of PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, for confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari is in accordance with the Pension Reforms Act (PRA) 2014 and the Constitution.

This followed reactions trailing the submission of the names by Buhari to the National Assembly last week.

A lawyer and the Executive Director, Centre For Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor  also said the growth and future of the pension sector which  has over N11.08 trillion fund assets is dependent on entrenchment of a formidable board.

Takor, a former director of PenCom, added that the news of the nominations came as a big relief to him.

He submitted that the confirmation of Mrs. Dahiru-Umar would ensure continuity in the Commission, especially as the chairman and the four commissioners are fresh hands.

Takor said the industry looks forward to Senate’s confirmation of the appointments.

He said: ‘’The Section provides: ‘The Chairman, Director-General and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Senate’.

“Section 19 (2) provides that the Board of the Commission shall consist of (a) a part-time Chairman who shall be a fit and proper person with adequate cognate experience in pension matters; (b) the Director-General of the Commission; (c) four full-time Commissioners of the Commission; (d) a representative each of the following agencies and institutions: Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Federal Ministry of Finance; Nigeria Labour Congress; Trade Union Congress of Nigeria; Nigeria Union of Pensioners; Nigeria Employers Consultative Association; Central Bank of Nigeria; Securities and Exchange Commission; Nigeria Stock Exchange; and National Insurance Commission.

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“The Board of PenCom was dissolved in 2015 or thereabout and for almost five years, the Commission has been without a Board. It has become a convention in Nigeria that once a new administration is sworn in at the Federal level, all Governing Boards of Federal Government Agencies are dissolved and reconstituted at the pleasure of the President. In the absence of the Board, PenCom has been managed by a Director-General and by an Acting Director-Director General.”

According to him, it is important to note that out of a Board membership of 16, 10 of them are institutional representatives of critical stakeholders in the pension industry, whose input are critical in the formulation and provision of policy guidelines for the discharge of the functions of the Commission; monitoring and ensure the implementation of policies and programmes of the Commission; and carrying out such other functions as necessary or expedient to ensure the efficient performance of functions of the Commission under the Act.

He maintained that it is to the credit of Mrs Aisha Dahiru-Umar and members’ of the Management Team that PenCom has been able to move the pension industry forward through effective regulation and supervision of the industry; ensuring increased level of compliance by private sector employers; under their watch, small and medium enterprises are increasingly embracing the CPS; expanding the coverage of the CPS through the Micro Pension Plan, which as at June, witnessed 51,974 informal sector workers enrolling into the CPS, contributing N42.1 million; under their watch, RSA registration grew to 9, 039,727 as at second quarter of 2020 growing pension assets to N11.08 trillion during the same period; and by ensuring that pension operators are managed by fit and proper persons, thereby ensuring that the industry continue to be insulated from fraud and maladministration, thereby securing pension funds and assets.

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