Questions on how N13.9trillion is managed as PENCOM tries to block removal of Police from scheme
Nigeria Police Retirees under the contributory pension scheme have called on the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to explain to the Nigerian public how the N13.9 trillion pension funds in its coffers is being managed.
The pensioners further insisted that their exemption from PenCom will not put huge financial burden on the federal budget or disrupt economy.
The retirees are making this demand as PENCOM Director General, Aisha Diaru is reportedly making moves to stop the Police from being removed from the Contributory Pension scheme.
She had asserted that the exemption of the police retirees with its N1.3 trillion contribution will shrink the savings culture of government through the Ecological funds account, Excess Crude account, Consolidated Revenue fund of the Federation, the Debt Management Office and the CBN Retirement Benefits Bond redemption funds which are the government methods of ensuring adequate savings for payments of pension benefits.
She further argued that the exemption of the police retirees will put huge financial burden on the budget of the nation and will disrupt the money market and over all monetary policies; which may affect certain sectors or the economy like the real estate and the capital Markets, leading to foreign partners not trusting the government commitment to pensions reform. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) equally spoke against the police pensioners’ exemption.
But the retirees in a document signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Christopher Effiong; the National Legal Adviser, Mr. Ofem Mbang; the Chairman Kaduna chapter, Mr. John Madaki; the Chairman Akwa Ibom Chapter, Mr. Uwem Uyoh, Chairman Oyo Chapter, Mr. Akande Benjamin; a member, Mr. Anthony Okporka and 16 others made available to some newsmen in Calabar Monday , dismissed the assertions by PenCom and the NLC saying it was a “ruse”.
“It is a ruse because the government has mastered the act of saving and that’s why it has several accounts for all its economic policies.
“PenCom wants to continue to feed fat on police retirees despite their suffering while the NLC is a meddlesome interloper considering the fact that NLC has never spoken for them before and the police by law does not unionize”,
“The proposed amendment will enable the federal government “take full responsibility of gratuity and pensions of the NPF retirees and remove the burden of contributing part of their meager salary for their retirement benefit from serving police officers”
“The projection of PenCom and its cohorts “has no fool proof or water and airtight conditions that are sufficient persuasions to sway the considerations of those 85% of the consensus of the public hearing participants. PenCom is being lazy and bereft of modern day ideas of managing the unrestricted pension funds which is available to it to strive and compete with the private sectors in the capital market and other sectors of the economy.
“PenCom should tell the government and the Nigerian public what it will be doing with the already saved N13.9 trillion to double its profit margin over next 10 years rather than trolling the police vindictively. The N13.9 trillion that survived COVID-19 and the global inflation will not be affected by exemption of the police retirees which is not a pandemic.
“They Should publish their annual fund manager report to show the public what areas of the economy it has invested the pension funds in its custody and what it intends to do in future to protect retirees interest and not run the scheme aground with weird propaganda and calumny”.
“The government is aware of the growth of retirement benefits over time; and has created cushioning effects of the economy in case of any disruption. Our economy depends on the price of oil in the international market, not on internal economic activities which PenCom and its cohorts want the discerning public to believe to mislead the government and the National Assembly,they stated .
According to the retirees, the Contributory Pensions as designed after the Chilean experience exempted the Military, Police and the Intelligence community because of the peculiar nature of their duty but one cannot explain why Nigeria refused to exempt the Police from the scheme after all.
“The police needs encouragement to perform their duties. More so, the risk factor is more in the police than in any other service. Retirement time has become a time of fear, intimidation, and loss of self confidence because of the unknown and the Police retirees have been reduced to beggars,” they said.