President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua yesterday called on the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement measures to control corruption in the pension scheme
Declaring open the National Conference on Pension Reform, however, Yar. Adua said the Federal Government, in collaboration with the National Assembly, was reviewing the Pension Reform Act. to make the industry more efficient and checkmate corruption,.
Thisday newspaper quoted President Yar dua represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, Yar’Adua as saying:
“There is still element of corruption in pension payment. Because of the transparency of this administration and its stance against corruption, the trend will be stopped, with the expertise and effort of PenCom, the pension industry regulator. We are appealing to PenCom to look into it,” he said.
Yar’Adua lamented that non-contributory pension scheme still had huge pension arrears, and expressed the hope that the arrears would be settled by government.
In his goodwill message, Ahmed recalled that under the regime of the old pension scheme, payment of retirement benefits was irregular due to inadequate funding.
Pointing out that “hitherto, Nigerian pensioners were forced to wait for months before they received their pension benefits,” he said, “the situation was even better than in the private sector where only one per cent of the workforce was covered by any form of pension arrangement.
“Undoubtedly, this situation contributed to declining productivity, as workers were not fully committed to giving their maximum due to lack of sense of security after retirement,” he said.
To correct the anomaly, he said it was only desirable but also inevitable to re-examine the whole pension system in the country” adding that, “the Federal Government, therefore, took the bull by the horn by reforming the Pension scheme.”
Ahmed said “the Pension Reform had been widely acclaimed as one of the successful reform programmes of government.
There is no doubt that the reform has not only survived, but had also developed into a strong pillar on the Nigeria Economic landscape and social security agenda.”