PenCom canvasses investment of pension fund within Africa

_Mrs.-Chinelo-Anohu-AmazuTHE National Pension Commission (PenCom) has said it will continue to promote the investment of pension funds within the African continent in line with the vision and ideals of the African Union’s long term economic development plan tagged, Agenda 2063.

The Director-General of the Commission, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, who made this commitment while addressing participants during the high level side event at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recently; said PenCom hopes to raise the number of workers covered under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) from 6.5 million this year to 20 million by 2019, using the Micro-pension initiative.

The AU Agenda 2063 is both a vision and an action plan, a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny.

It is expected to translate this vision and ideals into concrete objectives, milestones, goals, targets and actions/measures and it is supposed to enable Africa remain focused and committed to the ideals envisaged in the context of a rapidly changing world.

In operational terms, the Agenda 2063 would be a rolling plan of 25 years, 10 years, 5 years and short term action. Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in its 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration, rededicated themselves to the continent’s accelerated development and technological progress and laid down the vision and eight ideals to serve as pillars for the continent in the foreseeable future.

They mandated the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) to collaborate with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African Development Bank (AfDB) and NEPAD Agency to develop Agenda 2063 through a people-driven and extensive consultation process.

Sharing her thoughts on “Leveraging Pension Funds for Financing Infrastructure Development in Africa” in one of the discussion panels, she said PenCom is committed to the vision and ideals of the AU Agenda 2063 and would promote the investment of accumulated pension fund assets within the continent. “PenCom is committed to promote sustainable pension fund investments on the African continent and welcomes the AU Agenda 2063 as well as the Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA).

It would project same through the annual World Pension Summit (WPS) ‘Africa Special’ in collaboration with the WPS Amsterdam,” Anohu-Amazu said.

Speaking on the Contributory Pension Scheme, the Director General, who expressed dissatisfaction with the level of coverage of the scheme eleven years after it was established; said the Commission hopes to raise the coverage using the Micro-pension initiative, which it planned to launch very soon.

The current position of 6.5 million contributors is low relative to estimated working population. There is plan to expand it to at least 20 million by 2019 through Micro Pensions.

This is pertinent also due to inadequate social safety nets. This is a Pan-African issue that should provoke ideas sharing,” Anohu-Amazu said.

She asserted that the Nigerian pension reform represents a major action in Domestic Revenue Mobilisation (DRM), an AU policy that stemmed from the realisation that Africa should take responsibility and indeed possess the resources, if properly mobilised, for its own economic development.

This reform is mobilising funds which hitherto were untapped, she stressed. “Applying these pension funds to economic development is being pursued through initiatives on infrastructure and real estate investments domestically. There is also ample room in the near future for same to be extended to viable African investments,” she assured.

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