The Vice Chairman of the Fola Adeola Pension Reform Committee, Mr Timi Austen-Peters, on Monday berated the skepticism that trailed the establishment of the National Pension Bill in 2004 and noted that “nobody believed that pension is going to be real and sustainable.
“At a particular point labour was resistant to change because they didn’t believe that anything will come of it”, he said while speaking about the developments in the pensions market and how it is going to affect the African market as a next frontier market.
He however noted that “by virtue of the amount of work we put into the committee, they saw that all that we were doing was real and transparent; they contributed to everything and that is how we were able to get them on board.
“We able to escape the skepticism and develop the frame work of what we are talking about now”, he added.
Mr Austen-Peters, speaking on Business Morning on the side-lines of the 10th World Pension Summit holding for the first time in Africa, noted that safety of the retiree funds was uppermost in the minds of members of the Committee adding that “beyond that there was problem; when people were promised, pensions there was no money to back up that promise.
“We made sure that whatever framework we were going to put in place was something that was sustainable and backed up with cash to make sure that all promises were kept” he said.
He further noted that the Bill has also put in place risk management mechanisms that will see “someone who manages the money, someone who holds the money, that is the pension fund custodian and the regulator who makes sure that everyone is doing what they are meant to do”, adding that “that the essence of the framework is that there is money somewhere that is been supervised by a regulator and there are checks and balances built into the system”.
He said the scheme has gathered about $25 billion from 2007-till date, with only about 10 per cent of Nigeria’s work force contributing, insisting that “if Nigerians continue to contribute in this sort of sum, it is going to be significant, in terms of value, pension schemes in the world.
The World Pension Summit ‘Africa Special’ is billed to hold in Abuja between Monday, July 7 and Tuesday July 8, 2014.