The House of Representatives has resolved to initiate an inquiry into the state of pension funds, amounting to over N15.5 trillion and to recover the N10 trillion loaned to the federal government from the pension fund to avert a collapse of the pension scheme.
The development is a result of an unanimous adoption of a motion sponsored by Aliyu Misau, representing Misau/Dambam constituency,Bauchi State, at plenary on Tuesday.
Moving the motion earlier, Misau emphasised that the Retirement Saving Account (RSA) was the primary financial lifeline for pensioners, providing for their financial needs upon retirement.
He lamented that most pensioners are unable to access their retirement funds, adding that neither the National Pension Commission (PenCom) nor the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) have been able to ensure prompt payment of entitlements.
“Aware that the pension fund assets which PenCom regulates, being the proceeds of the contributory pension scheme and returns on investment, stood at more than N15.5 trillion at the close of the first quarter of 2023,
“There is no justification for retirees not to have access to their RSA; worried that critical stakeholders have expressed concern that 65 percent of the funds which amount to N10 trillion, loaned to the Federal Government is an investment which exposes the contributors to unnecessary volatility as the Federal Government may fail to pay back the loan in due time.
“Being unable to access their pension has caused untold hardship to the retirees as they are unable to afford even basic necessities,” he said.
Following the unanimous support the motion garnered, the legislative assembly urged PenCom to ensure the immediate release of funds for the payment of pension funds to all retirees in the country.
In his ruling, Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker mandated the committee on pension to investigate the status of the pension fund assets of over N15.5 trillion.
Kalu explained that the aim is to ensure that the N10 trillion loaned to the federal government from pension funds is duly recovered and precautionary modalities are put in place to avert collapse of the scheme.
He also mandated the committee to scrutinise the failure of PFAs in fulfilling their commitments to retirees concerning gaining access to their retirement funds.