Stakeholders in the pension industry including the Senate have disagreed over the Nigeria Police Force’s request for exemption from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
The proposal to exclude the Police from CPS was reportedly backed by senators, the Police, and associations of Police retirees at a public hearing on the Police Pension Board Bill on Friday. However, the request was rejected by the National Pension Commission (PenCom), the Nigerian Pension Fund Operators Association (PenOp), and other stakeholders.
The Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba, was represented by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Sanusi Lemu. He stated that the police needed a separate board of its own to handle and administer the pensions of retired police personnel in the same manner as the Military Pension Board.
He contended that the police deserved to have a distinct body for the management and administration of the Pensions of its retirees, as is made evident by the title of the bill Police Pension Board Establishment Bill 2022.
Elisha Abbo, a legislator from Adamawa North who sponsored the Police Pension Board Bill, claimed that Nigerian police officers were receiving unjust treatment. According to Mr. Abbo, establishing parity in the payment of pensions to the police will improve their level of life and morale.
However, the proposal to exclude the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) from the contributing pension scheme was rejected by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
According to PenCom, the CPS has strengthened the nation’s financial sector and made it possible for the federal government to carry out essential projects through its borrowing of the pension fund in the form of bond issuance.
“..63.68% of the total pension assets have been invested in Federal Government securities (FGN Bonds, Treasury Bills, Sukuk and Agency Bonds) as at 30 November 2022”, PenCom posited.
It will be recalled that the total pension assets topped ₦14 trillion as of the end of November 2022.
The Pension Funds Operators in Nigeria (PenOps) stated in its own submission that while the CPS is not 100% perfect, it is indeed a great improvement over the unworkable pension systems used in the nation prior to 2004. The operators argued that rather than erasing the CPS’s advantages, they should be consolidated.