As Nigerians await the unveiling of the guideline to secure the future of the low-income earners and self-employed, the National Pension Commission Pension (PenCom) has hinted that it hopes to enroll about 250,000 informal sector workers in the micro-pension scheme within six months of its takeoff.
Micro Pension initiative exists for the provision of pension coverage to self-employed persons. In Nigeria it covers three strata – Lowest, Middle and High income earners.
Polycarp Anyanwu, Head, Micro Pensions Department, PenCom, at the just concluded workshop for journalists organised by PenCom, in Calabar, Cross River State, recently said that the commission is working assiduously to enroll 250,000 contributors within six months of the commencement of the initiative.
Anyanwu, noted that the commission is also targeting the self-employed in various trades and professions in Nigeria – artisans, accountants, lawyers, mechanics, tailors, market men/women, hair dressers, architects, engineers and more.
The Scheme, he stressed is an offshoot of the Pension industry 5-year strategic plan to expand the coverage of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) to 20 million contributors by 2019.
The Head of Micro Pensions Department noted that to ensure a smooth takeoff of the scheme, the commission had established a Micro Pension Department; developed a Micro Pension Database; collaborate with potential contributors and Chambers of Commerce and other Government Agencies like the CBN, SMEDAN and validate the EFinA research on the preferences of target audience for Micro Pension Scheme.
According to him, the commission has also reviewed the implementation of Micro Pension in other jurisdictions like Kenya and Ghana; formulate Guidelines and Framework on Micro Pension; consult licensed Pension Industry Operators and enhanced it information and communications technology capacity to accommodate the scheme.
On benefits accruable from the initiative, he said, it would avail the contributor access to regular stream of retirement income at old age and improves living standards of the elderly.
He said Contributors are to benefit from the various incentives to be offered by the PFAs; the initiative would deepen financial literacy and inclusion; secures financial autonomy & independence of retirees; passage of wealth to survivors in the event of death; increases National Savings & long term funds; promotes growth & development of the capital, mortgage and insurance markets and have positive effect on the national economy as pension assets increases.