Dogara, retirees urge govt to invest pension funds in infrastructure
Retirees under the aegis of National Union of Pensioners (NUP) yesterday, called on the Federal Government and 36 states to invest their pension funds in infrastructure projects.
The group made the demand in a presentation by its National President, Abel Afolayan, at a one-day Public Hearing of the House of Representatives Joint Committees on Pension, Finance and Capital Market and Institutions held at the National Assembly.
He implored government at all levels to reposition pension administration, by investing in infrastructure projects across the federation, in order to alleviate the plight of the citizenry.
Afolayan remarked that it was unfortunate that there is so much corruption in the administration of pension by public officials, adding that it behoves the authorities to reduce pension-related corruption to the barest minimum.
The octogenarian also blamed the plight of pensioners on Federal Government’s failure to release their retirement benefits, adding that thousands of retirees are still struggling for their pensions.
According to him, the problem in pension administration was not caused by PENCOM, the government regulator in charge of pension matters, but the Federal Government’s failure to release adequate funds for payment of retirees.
Other stakeholders including, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in their separate positions admitted that the contributory pension scheme initiated by PENCOM are being threatened by non-remittances by government establishments.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara, in his remarks affirmed that pension funds, if effectively managed by public officials, could contribute significantly to economic development of the nation.
He expressed support for the idea of investing and improving the infrastructural development of the nation using pension funds. The speaker added that taking the investment choice was justified, provided it would not be in breach of the expectations of the ultimate beneficiaries, who are the pensioners.
Dogara noted: “We at parliament understand that the pension venture has become another crucial sector in the economy of the nation. The resolution concedes that, if backed by law, the pension establishment could play a formidable role towards the development of the economy due to the huge investment funds received from subscribers within the scheme.”
He reiterated that the role an effective pension administration plays in the general wellbeing of the pensioners couldn’t be over-emphasised.
“Any motion therefore, that can improve the workings of the administration of pension funds and ensure that employers comply with the scheme, would always be favourably considered by the House,” he added.
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