Trustfund urges workers to report pension default to PFAs, Pencom
Trustfund Pensions Limited has urged workers to report employers that deduct pension funds without remitting to the National Pensions Commission (Pencom), and Pension Funds Administrators (PFAs), for appropriate actions.
Head, Compliance department of Trustfund, Christopher Fakanlu, who stated this Tuesday, during the 2019 Trustfund Employers’ Forum, in Abuja, explained that Pencom views non-remittance of deducted pension funds as a very serious offence that attracts stiff penalties.
Fakanlu said: “Contributors are permitted to report non-remittance of deducted funds to Pencom and their PFA. There is the Compliance and Enforcement department in the Commission that deals with every case of non-remittance through appropriate channels. Indeed, any organisation that deducts and fails to remit face penalties, which are meant to serve as deterrent to intending organisations.”
On her part, the Trustfund Pensions Limited, Regional Manager, North Central, Esuesiri Oshodi, said providing a platform where critical stakeholders continually meet to chart the way forward for pension matters in the country is necessary considering the evolution of the pension industry since its establishment in 2004.
“So many evolutions have happened since 2004, when the Contributory Pension Scheme was signed into law, and these developments require constant engagements with stakeholders with a view to improving operations and deliver benefits to the contributors. We use the stakeholders’ forums to inform the stakeholders of current trends and bring them up to speed on things they should be aware of,” she stated.
While urging enrolees to update their data, Oshodi warned that non-compliance with the newly introduced ‘Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS)’ by Pencom could delay processing of pension benefits.
Oshodi explained that failure to recapture data currently poses a huge operational challenge to Trustfund saying, “we would find processing the retirement benefits of anyone that wants to retire and is not on the Enhanced Contributors’ Registration System a bit difficult even though the law says they can assess part of their contribution almost immediately.”
We won’t be able to process their payment because they are not on the new system. That is already an operational issue. Even now, syncing people names with NIMC is problematic because of inconsistencies of names. For instance, we have seen where name such as ‘Steven’ is also written as ‘Stephen’. There are many names like that. These are operational challenges that are associated with the data update.”
She further explained that the purpose of the recapturing is because Pencom is moving from contributors’ registration system where customers’ data were hitherto warehoused to Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS), saying “now, to be able to migrate data from the old platform to the new platform, PFAs have to carry out employees’ data recapture exercise.”
She said the move follows the directive by the Federal Government that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) should be the identify manager for everyone in the country.
She added: “In that light, everything we are doing in the country has to be synced with NIMC database. That also means that our contributors’ data have to be synced with NIMC database.
“This exercise will lead to Nigerians having uniform identification with the same name and no longer one person bearing different names and several dates of birth.”
Oshodi stressed that the exercise is not really compulsory for people that are above 60 years because they are not expected to go into any new employment.
However, she was quick to add that that the exercise is important for those that retired early or are between 45 and 55 years old because there are possibilities of them getting another job.
She hinted that while the exercise was scheduled to terminate in January 2019, there are indications that it might be a continuous one.
Oshodi added: “The exercise is scheduled to terminate in January this year but there are so many people that are yet to recapture. This is why Pencom has encouraged PFAs to start afresh.
“During this engagement, we would be speaking to desk officers that are responsible for pension matters on the importance of this recapture exercise. We expect them to inform workers about it and hope that the step will encourage more people to come for the recapture exercise.”
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