By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Finance) — Premium Pension Limited said its customer base is now well spread in over one thousand organizations, holding in its portfolio over 700,000 Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs).
The Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), made the revelation when it held Its Pension Desk Officers Forum to touch base and collectively evaluate the workings of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) essentially to enhance operational effectiveness.
The forum, according to the firm, is a routine industry requirement that provides opportunity for stakeholders to keep abreast of current trends in the industry.
“This forum provides an opportunity to identify challenges faced by clients and collectively proffer clarifications and solutions” said Mr. Kabir Ahmed Tijjani, Executive Director and Acting Managing Director/CEO of the company, at the opening of the forum held at the Company’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.
“There are still challenges in the CPS 13 years since inception, especially in the area of public awareness of the law and the workings of the scheme.” Mr. Tijjani further pointed out that the regulatory body, the National Pension Commission, (PenCom) and the National Association of Pension Operators of Nigeria, (PenOp) have been doing a lot in the area of generation of public awareness of the immense advantages and desirability of the scheme.
This was corroborated by Ibrahim Kangiwa, Investment Analyst at PenCom at the event when he said that “We are working with PFAs to reach all stakeholders, the media and the public and private sectors to ensure increased awareness of the scheme.
” The forum provided a platform to appreciate the tremendous success Premium Pension has witnessed since coming on stream in 2005. Presentations were made on EPCCOS, Withdrawal from Voluntary Contribution and Enhanced Programmed Withdrawal and also the soon-to-be-introduced introduced Multi-fund Structure. Electronic Pension Contribution Collection System (EPCCOS) is a payment platform thatmakes it convenient for employers to make pension payments online to several PFAs with relevant schedules uploaded simultaneously.
This system, developed by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBBS) at the instance of PenOp would soon be the sole platform for pension contribution remittances in Nigeria. It tracks payment schedule such that each payment batch can be uniquely identified. The new guidelines and safeguards regarding withdrawals from voluntary contribution were shared with participants at the forum. This is mainly with regard to limits, periodicity and also foreign contributors.
The proposed Multi-Fund Structure regarding the investment of pension funds is geared towards enhancedprotection of pension funds from undue exposure to risk, beginning with funds of contributors in the twilight of their careers and gives active contributors opportunity to opt for the investment that aligns with their risk appetite Both the imperative of the Contributory Pension Scheme and the intricacy of its operations as well as individual and collective responsibilities of all stakeholders came to light at the forum.