The Chairperson of the World Pension Summit, Africa, Grace Usoro, on Tuesday stated that the World Pension Summit was brought to Africa because of Nigeria’s achievement in establishing a viable and successful pension scheme.
Having gone through a reform, Mrs Usoro noted that it became imperative for Nigeria to set a leadership role when it comes to pension in Africa, hence the decision to seek the partnership with the World Pension Summit.
“The National Pension Commission went into a partnership with the World Pension Summit to bring that brand to Africa and for us we are convinced that they were convinced by the achievements Nigeria has recorded in the area of pension. That is why they are very willing to go into that partnership with Nigeria,” Mrs Usoro said.
She further noted that it was important that Nigeria set a leadership role in Africa with regards to pension.
“Having implemented that reform successfully for the past ten years, we felt Nigeria has come of age to establish itself in a leading position regarding pensions.
“The achievement of the pension reform have become visible in the economy. Before the reform we had a deficit of about two trillion Naira and over 10 years that has grown significantly into accumulation of huge pool of funds that we believe can be effectively channelled not only into the Nigerian economy but Africa as a whole,” she said while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s flagship breakfast show.
She said Nigeria’s achievement was one of the reasons that propelled them to “form a synergy or cooperation, within the African continent to ensure that the next phase of the implementation of the pension reform is felt in the continent as a whole.
She expressed happiness over the partnership with the World Pension Summit, adding that the “summit addresses the gaps that we have identified existing not only in Nigeria but in Africa”.
Mrs Usoro further explained that the gaps could be filled with pensions, pointing out that for that reason, the summit had dwelt around looking at experiences from other jurisdiction, not only in Africa, but the world at large, to see how other jurisdictions have addressed these areas.
She pointed infrastructure and real estate development as areas that they have “gotten experiences globally from jurisdictions that have done well in that area”.
In his speech at the opening of the two-day summit, President Goodluck Jonathan made it clear that the protection of pension funds’ retirement benefits remained top priority of his administration.
“Pension as globally recognised occupies a strategic place in national socio-economic development. It is not only a vital component of social security but also a veritable vehicle for nation building. Indeed, investment in pension has profound impact on the well-being of pensioners, the society and the economy at large” he said.
President Jonathan advised stakeholders in the life shaping industry to engage constantly in dialogue to foster management framework and practices in their respective jurisdiction.