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ASCSN urges government to protect N5.3 trillion pension


 Bobboi Kagaima

Bobboi Kagaima

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has urged the Federal Government to offer ‘adequate protection’ to the N5.3 trillion workers contributory pension funds.

The union made this call through its National President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held recently.

Specifically, ASCSN said the fund is “purely workers money meant to be used to offset their terminal benefits when they retire”.

Kaigama in his opening address to delegates at the conference revealed that the workers contributory pension funds has accumulated up to N5.3 trillion.

“We are, however, worried and disturbed that government functionaries are now making persistent efforts to lay their hands on the contributory pension funds in the name of funding infrastructure.

“We say capital No to this retrogressive move. Our officials need to understand that the pension funds are not idle funds, but are funds invested mainly in safe instruments like money and bonds markets. We make bold to say that our country is not yet ripe for utilizing pension funds for building infrastructure.

“Our Federal, States and local governments are corrupt and incompetent in recovering public funds. We therefore strongly advise government to look elsewhere to raise funds for their projects. Contributory pension fund is a no go area and workers and their unions are more than prepared to fight with everything they have to resist pressures to touch and toy with workers future”, Kaigama added.

On the issue of unemployment, he noted that unemployment is one of the critical challenges confronting Nigeria. A drive through the inner corners of Nigerian cities will reveal how millions of unemployed Nigerian youths roam the streets without any means of livelihood.

“It is sad to note, that more than 70 million youths are without any job. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 12.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016 from 10.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2015 and underemployment rate also grew to 19.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 from 18.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2015. In January this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) passed a damning verdict on the capacity of the Nigerian economy to create jobs.

‘’We believe that Nigeria is presently at a boiling point as far as the rate of joblessness is concerned and urgent measures need to be taken to arrest this ugly trend. There is no gainsaying the fact that unemployment situation has created a breeding ground for largely unengaged youths to serve as willing tools for perpetrators of political and economic violence which is presently spreading all across the country”

“To solve unemployment problem therefore, government needs to set out goals in the employment creation agenda. Nigeria urgently needs economic overhauls and innovative policy changes to kick-start job creation prospects. In doing this, the government should make the economy more competitive and attractive to investment by providing basic infrastructure and access to finance with specific attention to agriculture and this should be done very urgently”, he said.

On President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade, he noted that the monster of systemic and pervasive corruption is the biggest obstacle Nigeria has been facing in the past three decades in its quest to achieve greatness.

Due to large scale corruption, Nigeria is now ranked among the lowest/least developed countries in the world. We are all witnesses to the fact that money meant for institutional and infrastructural development of the country were being carted away to foreign lands by public officials who believe that the best way to guarantee a beter, happier and more secured future for themselves and their generations to come is for them to attack the Treasury and illegally pillage the commonwealth of the people..

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