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97,591 micro pension participants contribute N436m in May – PenCom

THE National Pension Commission (PenCom) has said the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) contributions as of May stood at N435.61 million from the 97,591 participants registered.

The Head of the Micro Pension Department, PenCom, Dauda Ahmed, revealed this on the sidelines of the maiden Micro Pension Open Day, organised by the Pension Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) in Lagos.

The event had its theme “Micro Pension – Challenges, Prospects for Growth and Deepening Financial Inclusion in Nigeria”.

Ahmed said that the total contingent withdrawal by 150 Micro Pension Contributors (MPC) as of the month under review stood at N30.24 million.

According to him, the commission recorded N6.51 million as the amount converted by 581 Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) holders, under the informal sector to RSAs under the formal sector.

The PenCom scribe explained that the MPP is an opportunity for workers, who are mainly in the informal sector to save for their retirement.

Ahmed said that the MPP, as revised this year, is expected to extend pension coverage to over 2.2 million informal sector workers by 2024.

He said, as part of incentives to embrace micro pension, PenCom was working toward adopting a minimum health insurance for eligible MPP participants.

Ahmed stated that the commission was also engaging with labour unions, trade associations, and several groups on embracing the plan.

Ahmed listed the challenges to the implementation of the plan including; lack of awareness, mistrust about the pension system, absence of appropriate incentives, and lack of financial literacy.

According to him, the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) based MPP on short-term perspectives, especially in terms of financial benefits and the perceived associated cost.

Ahmed blamed the PFAs for poor service delivery, an inadequate awareness campaign for the product, and slow adoption of shared services arrangements.

He identified other factors impeding the implementation of the MPP as weak economic indices, inflation, and increased poverty level.

Earlier, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), PenOp, Oguche Agudah, charged the informal sector workers to visualise how their needs would be met in the next 20 to 30 years without a pension plan.

Agudah noted the PFAs were concerned about improving the micro pension penetration in Nigeria, saying, “The country has the largest informal sectors which are not covered by any form of formal pension”.

“We, in the pension industry, work to get as many informal sector workers as possible on a pension scheme.

“Those within a structured organisation or who employ less than three persons and youths growing the informal gig economy; starting businesses on their laptop without any office, yet earning decently.

“We are passionate about micro pensions, as today’s event revolves around the audacious industrial goal to engage as many informal sector workers as possible, to sign up for the scheme for the benefit of everyone,” he said.

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