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Why government is yet to access pension fund for infrastructure, by PenOp

By Lucky Orioha   |   10 October 2016   |   2:48 am
Eguarekhide Longe.

Eguarekhide Longe.

The President, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Longe Eguarekhide has identified government’s inability to draw clear strategy for infrastructural financing as reason for its failure to attract much fund from the pension industry.

He noted that there should be a clear and articulated strategy on investment in infrastructure that will enable all stakeholders move in the same direction.

According to him, pension operators are yet to fully understand what the government policy on infrastructure is, adding that government is only
calling for pension fund without disclosing what it would be invested on to ascertain the safety of the fund.

“We need to focus on the debate on the use of pension funds in clear details, because what is the strategy for infrastructure investing that is being considered? There are many different infrastructures that can be pursued, but what is the strategy to pursue them? If you do not pursue it well, you can just be investing randomly and make no impact.

“A lot of thinking has to be done and you cannot think in a room without government presence,” he noted.

He however, said the objective of pension investment is not development financing, stressing that pension administrators have a fiduciary responsibilities to their subscribers, which they consider first before consideration on returns.

The Executive Secretary, PenOp, Ms Susan Oranye, said: “Our primary role is our fiduciary to our contributors. We can agree across the board that
pension funds can play a role in economic growth. It is good to invest in infrastructural bond, the economy would grow and there is job creation and everybody is happy. But if you do not have those bonds and projects properly structured, we would not just jump into investing.”

She urged those calling on pension operators to focus on improving the lots of the people rather than returns, to tread with caution, stressing that improving the lot of the general public is not the job of operators.

She maintained that there are lots of infrastructural bonds that pension funds could be invested in which would have socially responsible effects
on Nigerians, and called on government to harmonise the opportunities to enable pension operators come in with their funds.

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