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Trustfund begins biometric exercise for pensioners

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
02 August 2016   |   1:04 am
Trustfund Pensions has begun biometric exercise for pensioners under the Contributory pension scheme .


Trustfund Pensions has begun biometric exercise for pensioners under the Contributory pension scheme .

Speaking during a retirees’ forum in Abuja, an officer in the Customer Relationship department of Trustfund, Maha Longe, said the firm embarked on the biometrics of its enrollees to make its operations easier, accurate and in tune with the corporate standard.

“Biometric is very necessary to garner information because there are no two people that have the same thump-print. People can forge signatures but no one can forge biometric and we are adopting biometric approach because of its unique features. This also reduces paper works because it is computerized,” she explained .

Longe stressed that Trustfund is embarking on the exercise to enhance the security of the enrollees. “Since the contributory pension scheme began in 2004 when some people joined, we discovered that some of the pictures we collected at the inception are no longer current, which necessitated the need for upgrade of our records,” she said.”

Longe dispelled fears that retirees who lost fingers may be disadvantaged in the exercise.

She explained: “We have access to it except for those that have challenges with their fingers due to accident. For these people, there are provisions for them to continue to use signatures for their transactions.”

While there is no date set to end the biometric exercise, Longe said letters have been dispatched to organization to set dates to capture Staff in their respective offices.

She said: “The plan is to have biometric centres in all our offices across the country. The process does not take time at all. We also plan to move our gadgets to various offices across the country as soon as we get the dates from organisations to do it.”

Longe stressed that Trustfund is ahead of time in not waiting for the regulators, National Pension Commission (Pencom) to flag-off the process before beginning it.

Reacting to why enrollees cannot access loan facilities to start business, Longe explained that there is no provision for loans in the pension administration system for retirees.

“The lump sum that is paid to every retiree upon retirement is like a loan. Our observation is that because this scheme is new, many people did not plan ahead. There are fresh retirees that want to build a house with their retirement benefits. There are some that want to pay school fees of their children with retirement benefits. That cannot work because retirement benefit is meant to provide survival stipends at the end of every month. It is not an income that is meant to meet family expenditure. What is going on now is like a lesson to those that are still working to start planning early,” she added.

While reacting to reasons additional payments made into retirees account by their employers may not reflect on what they collect at the end of the month, Longe explained that for such payment to reflect in the amount the retiree gets, it must be substantial.

Longe also hinted that the growth of enrollees funds has led to the reduction in complaints among retirees, adding, “as the years go by, the amount of money in retirees account have almost double.