By Abiemwense Moru
The Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and some stakeholders have opposed the proposed exemption of para-military organizations from the contributory pension scheme.
The OSGF made its position known at the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Pension on a Bill to exclude personnel of paramilitary and anti-graft agencies from the contributory pension scheme.
Representative of the OSGF, Mr Roy Ogor, disclosed that the white paper issued by the Federal Government, prohibited all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and paramilitary outfits from pulling out of the contributory pension scheme.
He explained that the provision of the exemption bill contravenes federal government’s position, so it should be jettisoned.
Ogor urged National Assembly to jettison any proposed legislation that could further compound the socio-economic predicaments of the country and Nigerian workers,
He also noted that status quo should be maintained to enable the public and private employers to meet their 18 per cent pension obligations as encapsulated in Pension Reform Act, 2014.
He lamented that public and private employees were currently struggling to comply with the current contribution of 18 per cent as the lingering economic recession affects both public and private employers.
He, however said that rather than the proposed amended which seeks to exempt paramilitary personnel, the Pension Reform Act has provision for increase in pension contribution by employers.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, and other stakeholders have warned against the return of corruption riddled era of Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS).
Dogara urged the committee and all stakeholders at the public hearing to examine the bill critically.
“We are conscious of the fact that the pension industry has become a crucial sector that is playing a formidable role towards the development of the economy in terms of availability of huge investment funds of about N6.4 trillion.”
He said that provided by the scheme that could be deployed both in the real sector as well as in the capital market sector.’’
On his part, Nigeria Labour Council (NLC) President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said that the Federal Government had in excess N1.6 trillion pension liabilities under the DBS when the CPS was introduced in 2004.
Chairman, House committee on Pension, Rep. Hassan Shekarau in his remarks, informed the stakeholders that the 33 per cent pension arrears had been paid to personnel of Nigeria Customs Service; Nigeria Prisons Service and Nigerian Immigration Service. (NAN)