… Enumerate benefits of CPS

pension fundTHE Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) has said that the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) remains one of the best things to have been bequeathed on workers who deserved comfortable lifestyle at retirement.

The Executive Secretary PenOp, Ms Susan Oranye, who disclosed this in a statement, said the new pension scheme has helped to stem the rigorous challenges associated with the old scheme, which in time past, denied workers their rights and entitlements.

She said the new scheme which has been placed in the hands of the employers and employees, has eradicated undue hardship pensioners were subjected to in a bid to access their pensions, stressing that the era of long queues by retirees when accessing their benefits has faded way and that retirees now get their pensions on or before 24th of every month, that is, even before active workers.

She noted that the scheme has put in place a total package for workers and retirees, adding that this can be attested to by the recently released draft guidelines on mortgage finance by the National Pension Commission (PenCom), which if approved will allow workers access 25 per cent of their RSA balance as equity for mortgage financing of their primary home.

According to her, as at May 31, 2015, the scheme had approximately 6.6 million contributors and assets in excess of $25 billion. She posited that Pension Fund Administrators have paid N300 billion to retirees between 2007 and 2015.

In figures produced by the Regulatory body, PenCom,111,756 retirees were paid monthly pension of N3.4 billion by PFAs and 18,468 received N917 million monthly from insurance firms.

Oranye said that PenCom had confirmed that in the first quarter of this year, N4.44 billion was paid as death benefits to the next of kins of 1,450 deceased employees, stressing that N77.18 billion had so far been paid to the next-of-kin of 27,321 deceased employees from inception to the end of the first quarter of 2015.

She said in line with the provisions to cater for workers who were disengaged, 96,002 of them, were last year, given 25 per cent of their Retirement Savings Account (RSA) balances amounting to N20.72 billion. Of the 96,002 persons, 91, 3555 were from the private sector while 4,647 from the public sector.

According to her, the CPS has in-built safeguards to protect the pension fund from all forms of misappropriation with the functions of custody and administration of the funds clearly delineated.

While the Pension Fund Custodians handle the custody of the pension funds, she noted that “the PFAs handle the administration.”

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