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Obaseki charges PENCOM to leverage N12tr fund in developing economy

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Head, Surveillance Department, National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Ehimeme Ohioma (left); Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; Commissioner for Finance, PENCOM, Charles Sylvester Emuokowhate; Senior Manager and Relationship Officer, State Operation Department, Mrs. Obioma Grace Ezeadikwa, during a visit to the governor at the Government House, Benin City…yesterday.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has charged the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) to be more participatory and identify the most feasible means to use the N12 trillion available to the commission in developing the country’s real economy.

He gave the charge when PENCOM officials, led by its Commissioner for Finance, Charles Sylvester Emukowhate, visited him yesterday at the Government House, Benin City.

“One thing that the commission must focus on is participation. There is no need to keep N12 trillion in the banks. It cannot activate the economy and the commission should be more participatory. The money belongs to the people and the fund must be provided when required.

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“We need to grow the economy. We have talked about how to use and channel funds to the real economy over the years, but it has not happened. These funds should be channeled into the economy to build infrastructure and grow the economy,” he said.

Obaseki, who reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the welfare of workers and pensioners, said he was delighted that the state government started the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2017 and that Edo workers have now seen its benefits.

“Since the commencement of the scheme in 2017, benefits have been paid to the families of all those covered by the insurance scheme. Government is undertaking an audit of the 18 councils, and for us, sustainability is key. We don’t want to start anything and stop it half way.

“We need more sensitisation on the scheme to ensure that it is accepted and appreciated. We don’t have direct control over local governments because they are independent,” he said.

Speaking, Emukowhate said PENCOM’s mandate is to ensure that the lives of pensioners are made comfortable after retirement from service.

“We commend you for embracing the process and enacting the Edo State Pension Reforms laws, commencing the implementation of CPS in 2017, setting up the Pension Bureau Board, registering employees with pension fund administrators and remitting 10 per cent employers and 8 per cent employees contributions to the CPS, even as employers’ verification exercise is ongoing.

“Edo State has a valid group life insurance. With these steps you have shown the people of the State that you are a governor who cares for them,” he said.

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