PenCom laments challenges at overseeing activities of governments’ pension departments
WorldStage Newsonline-- The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has lamented that despite the frantic efforts it made to oversee the activities of governments’ pension departments, it continued faced stiff resistance by the operators.
In a statement, made available to Worldstage Newsonline, he said PenCom set up a committee to co-ordinate the affairs of government pension departments, but the committee did not succeed as members from the pension offices suddenly stopped attending meetings without reason.
According to the Director-General of the Commission, Muhammad Ahmad, “In conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and Budget Office, we undertook an exercise in 2006, which was concluded in 2007. The data was ready for the Police pension, civilian pension, military pension, Customs and Immigration pension, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), State Security Service, about six pension services.
“The idea then was that with that verification, we would never have any exercise to conduct again. We would have computerised the system. Along the way, the Budget Office and the National Pension Commission were frustrated. The data was never used by any pension department, they went ahead and on annual basis. They have been conducting verification. Of course, they get money because it is being appropriated for them. That’s basically the point. It is quite embarrassing, particularly with the civilian pensions department. Except for the Head of Service we have engaged previous Heads of Service, telling them these are independent pension departments, they are supposed to be supervised by the National Pension Commission.
“We set up a technical committee and we were having meetings and all of a sudden they stopped coming to our meetings and they stopped sending returns to us. We did a comprehensive review of all the steps that we needed to take along the line, all these were frustrated. We are hoping and praying that we will raise the issue with the Federal Ministry of Finance to streamline the process; perhaps we will have sanity in the pension departments. It is embarrassing not only to the commission but to all Nigerians.”
He noted that the commission would leverage on the state-of-the-art information and communication technology to enhance its surveillance and supervisory activities on the industry. And that there is no doubt that the deployment of the Risk Management and Analysis System (RMAS) would enable PenCom to obtain direct information on different activities of the Pension Fund Operators to ensure a safe and sound pension industry.
“Similarly, the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) would assist the Commission to identify multiple registrations using biometrics of the RSA holders. Finally, the Oracle E-business Suite application would also enhance the efficiency of the operations of the Commission. Arrangements had already commenced toward ensuring the completion and implementation of these applications this year,” he said.