By Henry Uche
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has risen in defense of pensioners over non-payment of their entitlements by some outgoing governors and company chief executives.This followed allegations of fund diversion by some inconsiderate employers.
It was further alleged that in some cases, ex- governors were caught in the web of using pensioners’ Contributory Pension fund to fund their extravagant lifestyle under the guise of state administration.
According to the sources the affected governors would prefer to use the money rather than pay pensioners’ through their respective Pension Administrators(PAs).
In its 2022 first quarterly report released recently, Pencom showed that many private companies employers failed to forward the mandatory deductions from their employees to employees’ Pension Administrators.
The monies that often run into billions of naira are owed employees who left the services of their companies. According to the report, PenCom recovered N422.34 million from employers who failed to remit pension contributions of their employees to their respective pension fund administrators (PFAs) in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1’22).
PenCom stressed in the report that the figure is 30.6 percent lower than the Commission’s recovery of N608.55 million in the corresponding period of 2021 (Q1’21). According to the Commission, the amount comprises N124.89 million principal contribution and N295.45 million penalty, while the sum was recovered from 23 defaulting employers during the quarter under review. Meanwhile, six defaulting employers have been recommended for appropriate legal action.
In line with its mission which is to “ensure effective regulation and supervision of the Nigerian Pension industry to ensure that retirement benefits are paid as and when due” it is expected of PenCom to be very strict about what it professed. With the Act Establishing it, PenCom should not hesitate (as it did to 23 employers recently) to go after other employers in the public sector especially the State Governors, particularly those leaving office and seeking higher positions concurrently.
It’s not unlikely that employers – politicians would always tamper with Pensioners Funds to achieve their poltical ambitions at the peril of the senior citizens. A Pensioner who Pleaded anonymous said, “Its a broad day wickedness for an outgoing governor or CEO to relegate civil servants, retiring or already retired Civil servants, use their monies which runs in millions and in most cases in billions of naira to foot the bill of their personal campaigns or for their cronies,”
A Civil Servant (Tokunbo Olabisi Okeke) has this to say, “It is the experience from our elder States men that make active Civil servants to go wild (against every laid down civil service rule) to amass wealth for themselves in other to save for the rainy days.