PenCom targets media houses over default in pension remittances
Following the continuous default in the monthly pension remittance of media workers by their employers, the National Pension Commission (PenCom), is set to clamp down on defaulting media houses across the country.
The Acting Director General, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, who said this at a workshop organised by the Commission for journalists in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, at the weekend, expressed the regulators displeasure with the series of reports of non-remittance of monthly pension by media proprietors.
She promised that very soon, PenCom will begin to beam its searchlight on erring media firms to ensure that they invested in the future of their workers.
Represented by the Secretary/Legal Adviser, PenCom, Muhammad Sanni Muhammad, she noted that the essence of the new pension scheme is to ensure that contributors can still enjoy a good life in retirement from their robust Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs).
This, she said, means that both the employers and the employees must, on a monthly basis, jointly contribute 18 per cent of their incomes into the RSA of journalists, which would accumulate with time to make them spend their retirement happier.
The sad story, according to her, is that some media houses, having withdrawn the employees’ contribution from their respective salaries, fail to remit such into their RSAs, thereby short-changing the concerned workers.
She called on the defaulting media houses to do the needful, by paying the pension arrears they owe their workers, and must, henceforth, pay as and when due, warning that if this is done, it will raise the compliance level of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), especially in the media industry.
The President, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOP) Aderonke Adedeji, also the Managing Director, Leadway Pensure PFA Limited, who also presented a paper at the workshop, noted that it has become very challenging, especially for employers who do not remit the contributions as at when due, even as there are provisions in the law on how to handle such.
She said: “One of these is that when you have an employer who has not been remitting regularly, we are supposed to get the regulator informed about it. But before we do that, we try to find out what is responsible for such because the implication of making an official report is that it could lead to one or two things for your customers.
As a matter of fact, the law says that seven days after salaries are paid, deduction from employees’ salaries and employers should be remitted.
So, when you have a situation where an employer is not making such remittances for two, three, four months and above, we go there to ask why they are not remitting.
“But when we find a situation where employers seem to be nonchalant, careless and things like that, we inform the regulator, and recovery agents to go to such employers to do all that are necessary to recover the debts.”
Adedeji further argued that when employers do not pay as at when due, the employees lose what is known as investment income among others.