Story by John Edet, Lagos
The President of Pension Operators (PenOp), Mrs Aderonke Adedeji, said the ongoing data recapturing exercise across the country is to enable contributors fully maximize the benefits in the system.
While addressing journalists in Lagos, Adedeyi, said the ongoing exercise will allow Pension Fund Administrations (PFAs) reconcile the new information collected with the previous ones to enhance the credibility of the new pension scheme.
The Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) have implored pension contributors under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to embrace the exercise.
According to operators, the aim of the exercise is to update the existing data of contributors, while also addressing a situation whereby a pension contributor has multiple Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).
She added that the exercise will also protect pension clients against cybercrime as well as other fraudulent intents and activities.
Since last year, she said, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has been upbeat about data recapturing of pension clients while streamlining registration of prospective contributors in a move to have accurate database of contributors.
Disclosing that the ongoing data recapturing exercise is compulsory for all Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders, she urged contributors not to wait for their PFAs to notify them, but rather, willingly approach their pension administrators for the recapturing exercise.
“People should go and update their data and should not wait for PFAs to come to them before they subject themselves to this exercise. The process has started, PFAs have invested so much into the project and operators are progressively approaching their customers to recapture their data,” she added.
Adedeji, who is also the Managing Director/CEO, Leadway Pensure Limited, stated that, for now, there is no deadline, since the exercise is just starting but that, in future, there could be a deadline, depending on the response of Pension contributors toward this exercise.
Stating that verification exercise is aimed at ensuring quality data of contributors, she added that, this is in tandem with modern ICT trends to synchronise data base for national groups.
The exercise, she said, requires RSA holders to provide their respective NIM numbers to their PFAs and answer some questions that were not provided earlier, by the account holders.
On the recently launched Micro Pension Scheme, she said, the pace of registration for micro pension by the informal sector is slow compared to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), adding that, the nature of micro pension scheme and its voluntary nature means that the pace of growth would be slower to CPS that has been made compulsory by law.
She said, though, operators envisaged this, she pointed out that, as the time progresses and more people are aware of its immense benefits through increased awareness, the number of contributors will continue to grow on a regular basis.
Pension operators, she pointed out, had already invested heavily in micro pension scheme, by getting the needed information technology infrastructure, as well as manpower to mobilise new pension contributors through the grassroots, noting that, the approach of marketing and persuading Nigerians to join the scheme differs from other schemes.
“We, as operators, knew from the onset, that the approach of using agents to market micro pension plan will not work because of its nature. So, don’t expect to see our agents in market places marketing micro pension. But people are willingly coming to our offices to make enquiry and register even though, the pace of growth is slower and it’s understandable since it’s a new scheme.”
Head, Branding Committee, Wale Odutola, who is also the Managing Director ARM Pensions Limited, operators have begun registration of micro pension plan subscribers, adding that the progress is progressing seamlessly.
He noted that the conversation on accessing mortgage through pension fund is ongoing stressing that very soon the initiative would be activated.
He assured pension contributors of safety of the pension funds, maintaining that the recent directive by PenCom to operators to have fidelity insurance cover for their workers attests to efforts by the regulator and operators to ensure the funds are adequately protected.