06 October 2015, Lagos – Nigeria has grown pension funds from a deficit of over N2 trillion in the old pension scheme to over N5 trillion in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 10 years.
The Director-General of the National Pencom Commission (PenCom), Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said this while declaring open the second edition of the two-day World Pension Summit, Africa Special, held yesterday in Abuja.
Nigeria is hosting the summit for the second consecutive time this year after the country held its maiden edition last year.
“From operating the old Defined Benefits System that had well over N2trn (about $10 billion) in deficit at the dusk of the last century, the new CPS that was kick-started in 2004 now has over N5trn (about $27bn) in just over 10 years of operation,” Anohu-Amazu told the summit.
The PenCom boss said the huge pension funds will help Nigeria bridge its infrastructure deficit, an achievement which other African countries, she urged, can emulate.
“Infrastructure development undoubtedly remains a key enabler of sustainable development in Africa and the current rapid increase in the size of pension funds available in the continent provides a rare opportunity for multi-sectoral collaboration in bridging Africa’s infrastructure deficit,” she said.
The PenCom boss noted that a key feature of the CPS is the institutionalisation of risk-based regulation as a means of engendering the long-term sustainability of the pension industry.
“Regulatory strategies would thus encompass a painstaking consideration of risks, as well as the rewards that lie behind endogenous opportunities,” she stressed.
Participants at the summit, with the theme, “Building Sustainable Pension Systems in Africa”, were drawn from across Africa and beyond.
The Chairman and co-founder of the World Pension Summit, Sir Eric Eggink, tasked managers of pension funds to place priority on building trust.
Eggink said people must trust the pension industry and experts working in it to entrust them with their retirement savings.
Urging African countries to integrate pension reforms with long-term poverty reduction agenda, the pension activist advised governments not to demarcate public and private pension management, even as he frowned against introducing political agenda into the management of pension funds.
*Francis Arinze Iloani – Daily trust