RETIREMENT AND PENSION ADMINISTRATION IN NIGERIA

INTRODUCTION What is Retirement? Encarta English Dictionary says to retire means to:  Leaving of job or career: the act of leaving a job or career at or near the usual age for doing so  Time after having stopped working: the time that follows the end of somebody’s working life  Being away from busy life: a state of being withdrawn from the rest of the world or from a former busy life He lives in retirement in the country. Retirement is getting rest after a work life. How does one then have rest without adequately preparing towards it? This is why government makes it a point of duty to ensuring that, after a man might have worked and earned income for a certain number of years and rests; he should be getting stipend (pension) to keep body and soul together. Also to make him feel like he is getting reward after service. Hence, the idea of PENSION. Historical Background The first Public Sector Pension Scheme in Nigeria was the Pension Ordinance of 1951, with retroactive effect from January 1, 1946. The law allowed the Governor-General to grant pensions and gratuities in accordance with the regulations, which were reviewed from time to time with the approval of the Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs in the UK government. Vesting period was fixed at 10 years of service. Though pensions and gratuities were provided for in the legislation, they were not a right as they could be reduced or withheld altogether if it was established to the satisfaction of the Governor-General that, the officer was found guilty of negligence, irregularity or misconduct. The pension scheme in the public sector has undergone various developmental stages after the first Pension Ordinance. For example, • the civil service pension scheme was established by the Basic Pension Decree 102 of 1979, • the Local Government Pension Scheme was established by Military Fiat in 1977; and • the Armed Forces Pension Scheme created through Decree 103 of 1979 with retroactive effect from April 1974. • There was also the Pensions Rights of Judges Decree NO.5 of 1985 as mended by Amendment Decrees Nos. 51 of 1988,29 and 62 of 1991. • The Police and other Agencies Pension Scheme Decree No: 75 of 1993 which took retroactive effect from 1990 represented another landmark development in the history of the Nigerian pension system. Governmental Parastatals and agencies directly funded by the Treasury had a unified pension scheme that was virtually managed by insurance companies and many were unable to honour their pension obligations. However, the pension schemes of the self funded agencies were better managed. The first private sector pension scheme in Nigeria was set up for the employees of the Nigerian Breweries in 1954, which was followed by United African Company (UAC) in 1957. National Provident Fund (NPF) was the first formal pension scheme in Nigeria established in 1961 for the non-pensionable private sector employees. It was largely a savings scheme, where both employee and employer would contribute a sum of Four Naira (N4) each on monthly basis. The scheme provided for only one-off lump sum benefits. The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) was established by Decree No. 73 of 1993 to take over the NPF Scheme and provide enhanced pension scheme to private sector employees. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW •Nigeria operated Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) between January 1, 1946 and June 2004. •The Pension Reform Act was enacted on 25th June and came into effect on 1st July 2004. •Reform established a Defined Contributory Scheme (DCS) as against the erstwhile DBS so as to solve pension crisis before DCS THE NEED FOR PENSION REFORM  Pension deficit of about N2.3 trillion in 2004.  Most public sector schemes were unfunded  Unsustainable pension liabilities  Weak and inefficient administration of schemes in both public and private sectors  Demographic shifts and ageing make defined benefits schemes unsustainable  Many workers in the private sector were not covered by any form of retirement benefits arrangement  Existence of diversified arrangements which were largely unregulated in the private sector  Credibility crisis inherent in the old pension scheme:  Clumsy payment procedure that often resulted in unethical practices  Discriminatory payment of pension benefits  Bankruptcy of insured or unified pension scheme due to failure of insurance companies to honour their obligations  Limited coverage of the old pension scheme OBJECTIVES OF THE PENSION REFORM Section 2 of the Pension Reform Act 2004 gives the following as the ultimate of the scheme;  Empower and assist workers to save in order to cater for their livelihood during old age  Ensure that every worker receives his/her retirement benefits as and when due  Stem the growth of outstanding pension liability  Provide long term funds  Establish uniform rules, regulations and standards for administration of pension matters  Establish strong regulatory & supervisory framework  Streamline the administrative process in the management and payment of benefits to retirees  Wider scope to cover both the formal and informal sector  Provision of minimum guaranteed pension could help reduce old age poverty PROVISIONS OF PENSION REFORM ACT 2004 The Act is applicable to all employees in the Federal Public Service, Federal Capital Territory, state and local government workers and any private organization with 5 or more employees. The Act required that pension fund be managed only by licensed Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) while the pension fund asset can only be held by licensed Pension Fund Custodian (PFC). The Act also established the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to regulate, supervise and ensure the effective administration of pension affairs in Nigeria. This contributory pension scheme is mandatory to all employees to which it applies. The rate is a minimum contribution of: a) 7.5% deducted from the employee’s monthly emolument; and b) corresponding 7.5% paid by the employer. c) This amounts to a total monthly contribution of 15% (i.e a+b) STAKEHOLDERS The Pension Act made provision for the following bodies for easy administration of the scheme  Regulatory – PenCom  Apex body to regulate and supervise pension schemes  Formulate, direct and oversee the overall policy on pension matters in Nigeria  Approve, licence and supervise PFA, PFC and other institutions relating to pension matters  Management – Pension Fund Administrators  Open and administer Retirement Savings Account (RSA) for every employee in liaison with PenCom & appoints Pension Fund Custodian  Invest/manage pension fund assets and administers retirement benefits  Custody – Pension Fund Custodians  Receive the total contributions & holds pension fund assets in safe custody on trust for the employees and beneficiaries of the retirement benefits  Execute transactions and undertakes other related activities on behalf of PFA  Guarantee of Pension Assets by Shareholders of a PFC FUNCTIONS OF THE STAKEHOLDERS SECURITY OF THE SCHEME  Separation of functions of PFA and PFC  Pension Fund Custodian Guarantee  Pension funds held by PFCs in the name of the Contributors  Government contribution shall be a charge on Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation  Pension assets held by a Custodian shall not:  be used to meet the claim of any Custodian’s creditors in the event of liquidation of the Custodian  be seized or subject to execution of judgment debt or stopped from transfer to another Custodian  be sold, or granted as loan or used as collateral RIGHTS OF RSA HOLDER IN THE NEW SCHEME  The Contributor has powers:  to select PFA and open an RSA  to be given reports by the PFA on quarterly basis and on demand  to move RSA once a year  to appoint next of kin  to be provided with customer services by the PFA  to lodge complaints with PenCom  Pension Rights of those who worked prior to the commencement of the scheme to be covered by bond  Accrued Retirement Benefits (Gratuity & Pension) of 774,305 employees up to June 30, 2004 amounting to N851.4 billion recognized  At a coupon rate of 5% the total benefits amounted to N1,681.4 billion  5% of Monthly Wage Bill set aside at the Central Bank Of Nigeria  Already N58.72 billion has been remitted by FGN into the RBRF Account  Already N9.12 billion has been redeemed and paid into the RSAs of 1,165 retirees  11,304 prospective retirees have been enrolled and verified in Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan for the issuance of retirement bonds  Issuance and custody of bond certificates  Completion of the FG Retirement Bond Form and the physical enrollment entitles retirees to his/her Retirement Bond  Original copy of the Federal Government Retirement Bond Certificate shall be retained by PenCom while two certified true copies shall be issued to PFAs and beneficiaries respectively ACCESSING THE RSA  Only those retiring under the Contributory Pension Scheme are qualified  Only beneficiaries of deceased contributor are qualified for death benefits  Lump sum withdrawal at exit  Periodic pension payments  Option of Programmed Withdrawal and Annuity purchase  Right to change to another PFA in case of Programmed Withdrawal  Right to switch to Annuity from Programmed Withdrawal  Benefits to be paid to beneficiaries of deceased contributor (including death benefits) GROUNDS FOR ACCESS TO RSA o By Retirement o By Death Types of Retirement o Mandatory Retirement  Attainment of Mandatory Contractual Retirement Age (60/65 years in the public sector)  Retirement from service on attainment of maximum allowable length of service (35 years in the public sector) o Compulsory Retirement  Disengagement from Service in line with terms and conditions of employment  Retirement Based on Terms and Conditions  Retirement before 50 years in line with terms of employment (having put in minimum length of service to qualify for pension)  Retirement after 50 years but before mandatory retirement age (e.g 51-59 years having met the 10 years minimum length of service) o Retirement on Medical Ground  Based on advice of a Physician  Based on the advice of a Medical Board NEGOTIATING MODE OF WITHDRAWAL  Negotiating Variables  Lump Sum Withdrawals  Max. Lump Sum  Min. Lump Sum  Recommended Lump Sum  Periodic Withdrawals  Annuity vs Programmed Withdrawal  Monthly vs Quarterly Withdrawals  Max. Draw Down Amount  Min. Draw Down Amount  Recommended Draw Down Amount ROLE OF PENSION DESK OFFICERS Generally, DCS is individualistic in nature. Roles of Pension Desk Officer are reduced compared to DBS. The Pension Reform Act of 2004 Established Pension Office in organisations whose roles are to serve old pensioners and mainly advisory to RSA holders in the new scheme. Among the functions of the Pension Office include Payment of monthly pensions to old pensioners Submission of quarterly report of staff members Notify employee in writing of intending retirement and date Advise the employee to liaise with PFA six(6) months to retirement for necessary arrangements Advise retirees on documentation to be submitted to PFA, These are usually  Official Notice of Retirement from Employer  Last Pay slip  Recent Passport photograph  Any other Evidence of Annual Total Remuneration  CTC of Bond Certificate (for Public Sector Employees)  Death Certificate (in case of deceased person)  Will or Letter of Administration, as the case may be. CHALLENGES OF THE REFORM The scheme was kick-started with many inherent problems which had been besetting its credibility and workability. Among these are  Ensuring compliance especially by the informal sector  Identification and transfer of existing pension assets with erstwhile pension managers to PFCs  Non-remittance of pension deductions by some private sector organisations  Challenge of widening the coverage in the private sector In FIIRO Here, we have got our own share of the challenges. At every time there are disturbing situations, management always rise to the occasion. Among these are:  Ignorance of how the scheme works  Non-remittance by PenCom/PFA  Accounting system of MDAs  Etc CONCLUSION Everything good usually have a rough starting. So is the case of the Contributory Pension Scheme. From my understanding, I have realized that this scheme is one of the good things that have happened to us in this decade. I want to assure us that those days of no pension, long queues and hopelessness are over. There is a saying that when there hope in the future there is power in the present. What we need is patience, hard work and diligence. I pray we will all get our rights with our right hands ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 1. Encarta English Dictionary 2. M.K Ahmad, The Nigerian Pension System, Nigerian Tribune ,Friday, 30 April 2010, 3. Pension Reform Act of 2004

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