Labour kicks against proposed amendment to Pension Reform Act

Organized labour has advised all stakeholders on pension matters to reject the proposed controversial bill seeking to exclude the Police, Customs, Civil Defenders, Immigration and EFCC from the Contributory Pension Scheme.

The bill which is being sponsored by Rep Oluwole Oke has passed second reading.

In a statement issued in Kaduna, ssa Aremu, NEC member of NLC who is also the Chairman of the Interim management Committee of First Guarantee pension fund administrator said Pension reform Acts of 2004 and 2014, were outcomes of executive bills which addressed the delicate interests of the pensioners, government and the economy adding that in principle a private member bill informed by “narrow and vested interest consideration” cannot do justice to all.   

The labour leader also said any private member bill which seeks to erode the gains of the 13-year-old N7 trillion contributory pension scheme in terms of coverage and resource pools is “counterproductive” and should not be encouraged.   

The labour leader said  pensions of the nation’s working men and women in security services are better secured in a national contributory Scheme than the old “unfunded and unsustainable discredited”  Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS).

According to him, until the recent contributory pension reform “all stakeholders bore witness to ugly features of corruption, inefficiency and share looting” which he claimed characterized  the old Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) adding that to return to the old era means “bringing back corruption to pension administration through the National Assembly”.

The Chairman of the Interim Management committee of the First Guarantee advised the National Assembly  against what he called   “the pitfalls  of frequent  self-serving out sourced amendments” of the Pension Act.

He observed that the pension Act has just been amended through executive/ all inclusive review two years ago adding that, with all it’s globally acknowledged successes the contributory pension covers only 7 million workers adding that to further ask for exclusion of the security agencies only undermines the scheme with all the attendant negative implications for Nigerian economy just coming out of recession. He therefore called all members of the Assembly to reject the private bill which will return pensioners to the bad old days of non-payment of pensions.

Aremu also said it was wrong for honorable Oke to pitch Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS) against Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) adding “that it is not one or the other but  the latter has worked for the pensioners while the former had failed in the past”.

The labour leader said the legislators should through their oversight ensure appropriate budgetary appropriation for the accrued benefits arising from the old unfounded scheme is paid and that huge 60 million workforce in both informal and formal private sectors and states civil services are covered in the compulsory Contributory pension scheme.

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