PENCOM decries absence of viable projects to attract N5.8 trillion assets
The Director-General of PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Amazu-Anohu, has disclosed that N5.8 trillion pension fund assets as at last July 2016 remains idle with the National Pension Commission (PenCom) because it has not been able to attract a good, safe and viable investible infrastructure products for long-term investment.
Besides, about trillion, comprising N492 billion for housing and N492 billion for infrastructure, representing 20 per cent each of the pensions fund assets, is being set aside for investment in the two sectors to create wealth and upgrade welfare of citizens. Yet, the funds continue to remain idle because there are still no sound projects that meet the condition for which the assets can be invested.
Amazu-Anohu, who spoke yesterday at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, represented by Head of PenCom Investment Supervision Department, Mr. Ehimeme Ohioma, declared that because of the concern of PenCom and positive impact the deployment of such assets would have on the Nigerian economy, her establishment was currently holding consultation with key regulatory agencies of government as well as the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to identify the limiting factors.
According to her: “Globally, productive investments in infrastructure are majorly made possible by long-term private funds/savings such as pension funds. Other sources are government revenues and bank loans. Pension assets in Nigeria today, valued at N5.8 trillion as at July 2016, are currently the largest and only available pool of patient capital. Pension fund investment in infrastructure is a reasonable proposition given the good asset/liability match, as infrastructure projects are long-term investments that match the long duration of pension liabilities.”
She said that key regulatory agencies such as the Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the NSIA, Central Bank of Nigeria, Infrastructural Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and others were having discussion with the PenCom to identify the limiting factors and see how they could review regulations for viable products to be developed and executed through the pool of funds.
The action, she said, was necessary because PenCom was targeting at least 40 per cent investment in viable products by 2019 out of the current less than four per cent threshold.
Meanwhile, Amazu-Anohu, who stated that the PenCom had commenced raiding of delinquent firms that are yet to remit employees’ contributions to their accounts, said close to N10 billion had so far been recovered while the prosecution of others will soon commence.