By Bimbola Oyesola
The revolving retirees contributory fund managed by the Trustfund Pension Plc grew to N44 billion from N18 billion in 2006 when it commenced operation.
This, according to the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), represents 136 per cent increase, which it attributed to massive returns on the investment of the contributors.
Speaking at a one day sensitisation forum with the retirees and those about to retire in Lagos yesterday, the Regional Manager of Trustfund in Lagos, Obiora Ozoekwem, said the number of registered contributors with the PFA has equally grown to 695,000 within the decade.
“Our investment portfolio is really growing and the fund has grown to N44 billion despite the fact that we have continued to pay our retirees. This is an evidence of the supports and confidence our contributors have in us,” he said. Obiora said contributors could be assured of a better deal upon retirement as Trustfund would continue to grow their contributions as long as their employers make remittance as at when due.
He however said that the main challenge to the fund has been negligence and non compliance of the employers to remit employees retirement contributions as demanded by the law.
He said, “this is the reason why upon retirement some people will earn better than others. An employee whose employer remits his or her fund on time will earn better upon retirement than the employee whose fund is not being remitted within a stipulated time.
“When employers don’t remit as at when due, it would be affecting the return on investment of the retirees. It would affect what the workers could earn on retirement. People can get as much as 50 per cent if they have enough in their RSA. It is expected that after retirement one should be able to earn up to half of his or her salary while at work.”
“The law also says the fund should be remitted within seven days that salary is paid, those who paid within this period are the ones their funds can be invested and these are the ones that their contributions can grow, as the fund is not meant to be static.”
He, however, advised employees to prevail upon their employers to remit their contributions on time so that they can get maximum remittance, as that is the only thing they would be left with upon retirement.
The Regional Manager stressed that this is more important as the employees may be left with nothing should the company they are working for face any challenge that may lead to closure in future.
“This forum is an annual event. For this year, it is aimed at getting the contributors that are about to retire ready, giving them assessment of their pension, guiding those already retired on new guidelines from PenCom, updating them on what now applies in the industry. This is also mandatory from PenCom, at least once a year,” he said.
He, however, stated that four variables could be explained for the differential in payment by the PFAs, which are gender, years of service, pay slip and age.
According to him, a female retiree will probably get lesser lump sum at retirement because the calculation shows that women outlive men and in terms of payslip, the higher the lump sum, the lower the monthly stipend.