The pension reform and the legislative do-gooders
It seems that Nigeria would have disappointed the rest of the world if the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) were to run unfettered without a spanner being put in the works somehow somewhere.
Arguably, the CPS operating under the Pension Reform Act 2004, as amended by the Pension Reform Act 2014, has been the most effective and visibly successful programme of the Federal Government since the return of democratic governance in 1999.
Needless to recount or reminisce on the plight of pensioners in the old defined benefit pension scheme adopted by the various tiers of government and even some private sector establishments before the advent of the CPS. The runaway success that the CPS has become is turning out to be its greatest burden.
With amassed pension assets to the tune of more than N6.5trillion and more than seven million enrolees, the centrality of the pension industry in the future development narrative of Nigeria is almost assured.
I addressed the issue of the role of pension funds in national development in a widely published article entitled: The Liquidity Squeeze and the Traction of Pension Funds.
However, the sore point of this rapidly growing industry is the clearly perceptible lack of adequate public awareness on the workings of the scheme. This ignorance permeates even the very high echelon of society including the highly educated circles.
This lack of awareness can be said to be at the root of the barrage of policy or statutory somersaults emanating from the legislative arm of the Federal Government.
This however does not detract from the altruism and/or good intensions that could underlie the actions of the legislators behind the more than seven bills snaking their way through the chambers of the National Assembly. These bills aim to profoundly amend the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
Paddy Ezeala is a communication and development specialist based in Abuja