Acting Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Aisha Dahir-Umar says the Commission is investing pension assets to advance socio-economic growth in critical sectors of the economy.
Dahir-Umar says the pension assets which has grown to N9.4trillion as at August 2019, is channel to investments in critical sectors especially at a time when the country is striving to promote inclusive growth and facilitate development.
The acting DG said this at the Conference organized by PenCom for directors of pension operators in Nigeria which has the theme “Driving Economic Development through a Sustainable Pension Industry” held in Abuja.
“The pension industry in Nigeria is leading the initiative for the attainment of one of our critical national imperative for socio-economic development, which is the formation of long term domestic capital. The industry has accumulated assets worth over N9.4 trillion as at August 2019. These pension assets are overwhelmingly invested in the national economy, with a positive impact in all major sectors and a significant contribution to the GDP,” she said.
Dahir-Umar however, frowned at the recent clamour for the investment of pension funds to support initiatives both in the public and private domain.
“The recent upsurge of clamour for the deployment of pension funds to support several new initiatives in both the public and private sectors are inappropriately pursued by its proponents.
“For instance, our enabling law, the Pension Reform Act 2014, only empowers the regulator to issue Regulations on Investment of Pension Funds and Assets to guide the investment activities of the licensed operators. The law does not allow the regulator to “approve” any specific instrument for mandatory investment by operators.
“Regrettably, the Commission is increasingly being inundated with requests for “clearance” of several business proposals to enable Pension Fund Administrators to finance the initiatives with the pension fund.
“While these developments maybe indicative of the high level of acceptability and robustness of the Pension Reform, they also call for increased vigilance by both the regulator and operators against derailment from the main objectives of the Reform, which is the payment of retirement benefits as and when due.
“The pension industry players have a joint responsibility, not only to consolidate on the successes of the reform recorded this far, but also to build a sustainable pension industry that can effectively deliver on its primary social mandate of retirement benefits payment,” she explained.
She further stated that the conference was introduced by the Commission to constantly update members of the Boards of Directors of licensed Pension Fund Administrators and Pension Fund Custodians on topical issues with regards to operation in the environment operating environment, as well as an opportunity for the directors to discuss and share ideas on areas of common interests and concerns within the industry.
She also urged experts and participants However to discuss issues that are of benefit to the pension industry and chart a way for the implementation of the Micro pension plan that was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in March this year.