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Trustfund bemoans rising cases of uncredited pension accounts

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
19 October 2021   |   2:49 am
The rising cases of uncredited pension accounts are threatening the amount of pension available to retirees, Trustfund Pension Limited has said.

The rising cases of uncredited pension accounts are threatening the amount of pension available to retirees, Trustfund Pension Limited has said.

Speaking in Abuja at an employers’ forum, Head, Compliance, Trustfund pensions, Christopher Fakanlu said the rising cases of uncredited accounts is worrisome.

He explained: “The level of uncredited contribution is rising in the industry. We need to interrogate why this is happening and how to stem the tide. In our interactions with employers, we discovered that some of those challenges arose out of wrong approaches or delays. We are jointly proffering solutions to reduce uncredited contributions or to even eradicate the menace.

He pointed out that uncredited contribution entails a situation where employers deduct contributions and remit to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) but some of the remittances do not contain the schedules of the contributions.

“So, if the contribution of an employee is made without an adequate schedule on who and who the contribution is for and the account the money should be credited to, the PFAs will not be able to credit the contribution.

“Also, there are situations where employers inter-change Personal Identification Number (PIN) of a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) on the same schedule. So, it becomes difficult to credit the remittance. We have also seen situations where different money is scheduled and what banks pay. In that case, it is difficult for a PFA to match the schedule with the contribution that has been made.”

Fakanlu added that the employers’ forum is a platform for Trustfund and employers to meet and jointly proffer solutions to challenges confronting the pension system in Nigeria.

He stated: “We have brought the employers here so that we can jointly address the problem for us to be able to process the money when we receive it and continue to create value for the owners of the fund on a daily basis.”

He stressed that the most important obligation of employers under the pension Reform Act 2014 is to deduct and remit funds.

Fakanlu said: “as a PFA, we engage employers on this obligation via letters when we observe they are not meeting this obligation. But the Pension Commission has the responsibility of engaging employers and recovering the fund through recovery agents. Then issues get to this level, employers are made to pay with penalties.”

He emphasised that employees suffer late remittance or lack of it saying, it was because there will not be money to invest on his or her behalf. So, when there is no credit, it means the fund is seated in an account called ‘contribution reconciliation account’ which is not invested, thereby depriving employees’ sizable income.”

He urged employers to remit seven days after payment of salary as stipulated by the Act.

“I must say that it is not enough to just remit, employers must provide a schedule of contribution so that we can credit the fund and begin to create value for our contributors,” he said.

On his part, the regional manager, North-Central Region, Trustfund, Adamu Rabiu, said the informal sector, which is largely untapped, has potential for the growth of the pension industry.

His words: “The future of financial services lies in the informal sector because there is a lot of untapped potential in that sector. The most formidable challenge confronting Micro pension for the informal sector is the un-organised nature of the sector in a way the operators can key into the pension system seamlessly. Despite this challenge, however, Trustfund is reaching out to the operators to be a part of the pension.”

Rabiu insisted that the reduction of documentation by operators in the informal sector who are willing to join the contributory pension scheme by the Pension Reform Act 2014 as amended is a boost the sector needs.

“To achieve this, the Commission took a deliberate decision to reduce the level of documentation that is required for operators in the informal sector to join the scheme, unlike the formal sector that requires an enrollee to provide a lot of documents to participate. But in the informal sector, documentation of employment and the duration in such employment is played down significantly to encourage participation in the scheme,” he explained.

Rabiu said micro pension is still work-in-progress as there are challenges but insisted that the sector holds a lot of promises in the near future.

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