At the 2023 Journalists’ Conference in Abuja, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) revealed a significant stride in its efforts to uphold the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014. A staggering sum of over ₦24.5 billion (₦24,533,339,305.09) has been reclaimed from employers who had defaulted on their obligation to contribute to pension funds, as mandated by the law.
These funds were retrieved through a determined campaign that began in June 2012 and persisted until March 31, 2023. PenCom employed the innovative “whistleblowing mechanism,” strategically designed to empower the public, particularly private sector employees, to report non-compliant employers who were neglecting to remit mandatory monthly pension contributions.
A meticulous breakdown of the reclaimed funds reveals a principal sum of ₦12,440,682,240.91 and penalties amounting to ₦12,092,657,064.18, all collected from employers who had faltered in their responsibilities.
Throughout the first quarter of 2023 (Q1 2023), an additional sum of ₦384,280,651.48 was successfully recovered from 34 delinquent employers. This sum includes principal contributions totaling ₦193,058,483.56 and penalties totaling ₦191,222,167.92.
During the conference, Mr. Ikenna Chidi-Ebere, the Head of the Consumer Protection Department at PenCom, elaborated on implementing the “Whistleblowing Mechanism.” This mechanism, he explained, has a dual purpose: to encourage the reporting of non-compliant employers and to ensure the safeguarding of employees who come forward with information. This can be done anonymously to protect whistleblowers from potential job loss or retaliation.
Mr. Chidi-Ebere highlighted that the scope of the reporting mechanism extends beyond mere financial non-compliance. Observations of any irregularities linked to pension matters that might affect customer satisfaction are also encouraged to be reported. Reporting avenues, both online and offline, have been established by the Commission.
Aisha Dahir-Umar, Director General of the National Pension Commission, commended PenCom’s proactive regulatory approach, noting its role in reinforcing oversight and governance of pension funds. This approach has fortified transparency, accountability, and the protection of the interests of pension contributors.
Dahir-Umar underscored the importance of the newly established Consumer Protection Department (CPD), which reflects PenCom’s commitment to prioritize service delivery for Retirement Savings Account holders. The CPD’s creation is an embodiment of the Commission’s dedication to offering optimal care and attention to stakeholders.
Emphasizing the theme of the conference, “Transforming Service Delivery in the Pension Industry: Strategies for Improving Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction,” Dahir-Umar emphasized its timeliness and relevance. This theme resonates with PenCom’s unwavering commitment to elevating service standards within the Pension Industry, ultimately enhancing the experiences of contributors and retirees alike.
The Director General concluded by emphasizing that regulatory oversight is pivotal in maintaining the pillars of the pension system – transparency, fairness, and efficiency. These foundations are essential to upholding the integrity and effectiveness of the entire pension framework.