Oshiomhole cautions government against using pension funds to finance budget deficits
Oshiomhole, who gave the warning at the opening of a two-day presidential policy retreat organised for top government officials and state governors at the State House, Abuja, stated that all pension assets should be injected into investments in sundry critical sectors that impact directly on the lives of citizens.
The former Edo State governor said it was unfair to use pension funds that are the contributions of poor workers to finance projects that most times do not directly benefit them.
Meanwhile, in his address, President Muhammadu Buhari tasked the participants to come up with recommendations that will help his administration to deliver on the promises he made to Nigerians.
The President, who said his administration would continue to provide incentives for sustainable economic growth and job creation, urged the participants to come up with proposals that will help the government accelerate growth and economic development.
While calling for a reconfiguration of the Federal Government’s economic policies to address inequalities and tackle poverty, the APC chairman expressed the need for long-term plans that would replace the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
He said that poverty had continued to prevail against Nigerians despite efforts by the government to address the scourge.
“The logic behind introducing the pension scheme was that the workers’ social capital that they deducted every month would provide a basis for the long-term fund.
“Unfortunately, the money is borrowed by government, both federal and state, and unfortunately, it is not available to address the social purpose of the working people whose contributions the pension fund evolved,” he said.
Oshiomhole, while calling on the participants at the retreat to come up with policies that will frontally address Nigeria’s social-economic crises, lamented the late passage of budgets over the past few years.
He said it was inconceivable that though the party had the highest number of representation in both chambers, budgets were being passed five months into the new year.
He also called for a mechanism to increase revenue and blocking leakages and ensuring that every revenue agency remits to the federation account what is due in a timely manner.