Trustfund urges workers to embrace writing of will
Speaking at Trustfund Pensions Plc., customers’ forum in Abuja, Customers’ Relationship Management Officer in Trustfund, Mrs. Maha Longe, said even though no one knows the day of his death, unplanned death by breadwinners often leaves immediate family stranded and uncared for when the time to claim pension entitlement comes.
She said obtaining letter of administration, which replaces a will if not written, is not only becoming more problematic, but also has many associated contradictions.
Her explanation: “The issues associated with death are emerging as ones of the major problems in claiming entitlements of dead retirees. Obtaining letter of administration is more difficult now because it takes two or three years to obtain. Sometimes, some people such as uncles, sisters, mothers and other relations obtain letter of administration before the wife and the family of the demise is stranded with children education stunted most of the time. We want to strongly advise our customers to please write a will when they are still alive so that their family does not suffer when they are gone. Wills will ensure equity among family members when the breadwinner dies. It will spell out in details of who should get what. Writing a will should not be seen as death wish.”
Longe also hinted that the National Pension Commission (Pencom) has begun verification exercise for Federal Government workers who were also on the old pension scheme that are due to retire this year.
“Pencom has started verification exercise for the Federal Government bond for workers that contributed under the old pension scheme. Workers must go for the verification exercise otherwise what will be paid to them when they retire will be calculated from July 2004 to date. Workers need the accrued rights payment because that is where the bulk of their payment is. The workers that are invited to this customers’ forum are very happy that we are informing them now because many of them did not even know,” she explained.
While calling on the workers to continually update their data, Longe stated that incorrect data would lead to delay in the payment of entitlement when they eventually retire, saying, “if they don’t check and ensure their data is correct now and rather wait till when they retire, unremitted funds will delay their payment upon their retirement.”
She stressed that the customers’ forum organized for the about-to-retire workers has been very helpful saying it has helped to reduce misinformation that abounds in the sector.
She said: “The customers’ forums have also helped us to know workers that have changed their phone numbers, email addresses and possibly, change in marriage status, change of next-of-kin, amongst other changes. Sending messages to retirees become difficult because of frequent change of data and we get a lot of complaints as a result of this. So, some of these challenges are addressed during the forums.”
Longe stated that Trustfund is now compiling the list of employers that are in the habit of not remitting pension funds for onward transmission to National Pension Commission (Pencom) for sanction, adding, “non-remittance by employers to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) is still a major issue especially among the private sector. We have no issue at all with the public sector. Employers in the private sector cite so many challenges why they cannot remit.”
She hinted that plans are underway for an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting where most of the genuine agitations of retirees would be addressed.
On his part, the Regional Manager Abuja of Trustfund, Peter Okonjo said the customers’ forum has provided an avenue for Trustfund to find out areas of challenges by workers who are about to retire.
He added: “We find that workers always come up with one problem or the other upon retirement and solving the problem at that stage is always proves difficult. We then decided to organize this forum to know if there are any problems they may be having so that we can jointly address them with their employers before they exit” .
He explained that Trustfund seldom reporting employers to Pencom for misconduct, but employ persuasion for them to see the settlement of pension funds as a moral obligation, adding, “we report when that becomes the last resort.