Before the official launch of the Micro Pension Scheme (MPP) in March 2019, the National Pension Commission expressed hope that the scheme would triple the volume of pension assets over the period, which totaled over N8 trillion. As a result, the National Pension Commission released guidelines to guide Micro Pension operations.
Two years later, the Commission has expressed its unhappiness with the slow rate of growth of the micro pension scheme, urging Pension Fund Operators to do more to educate the public about the scheme’s importance.
With N13 trillion in total pension assets accumulated in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) since its inception, and 70,000 contributors registered in the micro pension scheme in less than two years, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and Pension Fund Operators appear to have differing opinions on the scheme’s performance.
However, both agree that with increased awareness and visibility, as well as broad public sensitization, the initiative may work significantly better than it does now.
In her reaction, the Managing Director of Leadway Pensure, Ronke Adedeji, believes that none of the pension fund operators expected the Micro Pension Plan to develop as rapidly as the regular Contributory Pension Scheme, contrary to the Commission’s expectations.
The Pension Fund Operators, she claims, knew from the start that the Micro Pension Scheme would develop in trickles, then gradually.
She explained that, unlike the regular Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) itself, the Micro Pension Scheme’s target contributors were significantly different from the CPS’s.
She stated that the target market for the Micro Pension Plan required a great deal of education and sensitization in order to comprehend the benefits of the program, as opposed to those who were required by law to contribute to the CPS.
She claimed that money flowed freely in the early days of the CPS program, in contrast to the early days of the Micro Pension Scheme when many were reluctant to listen to the operators because they preferred to keep their money safe.
While speaking to the media about the Micro Pension Plan at the Pension Fund Operators’ quarterly press briefing in Lagos, Adedeji said the scheme was vitally essential to Nigerians, adding that pensions, in general, were supposed to give financial stability for people in their old age.
Despite the fact that pension fund administrators have begun registering contributors to the Micro Pension Plan, she said Nigerians needed education and awareness in order to comprehend and participate in the scheme.
However, PenCom has identified the need to intensify public enlightenment in a sustained manner to raise the level of awareness and acceptability of the Micro Pension Scheme as a critical success factor in a recent Framework for Enlightenment and Public Awareness’ for the Micro Pension Plan sent to all PFAs.
It added the Framework has laid out the rules for the Commission and PFAs to follow in order to ensure that the scheme’s public awareness campaign is effective and long-lasting.