Management of Trustfund Pensions Plc has indicated its readiness to capture the informal sector, as soon as National Pension Commission (PenCom) releases the guidelines for operation.
This comes as the Head of Ugandan’s Parliament delegation to Nigeria, Parliamentarian Amos Lugoloobi, has lauded the ownership structure of Trustfund, stating that the foremost pension administrator has a prefect ownership structure that evokes trust among workers.
Managing Director of Trusfund Pensions, Mrs. Helen Da-Souza, who made this known in Abuja, stated that the untapped informal sector makes about 80 per cent of the prospective contributors in the country.
Da-Souza said while the scheme has made huge inroads into registering workers in the formal sector, the scheme is still without the informal sector, which forms the largest part of the working population.
She stated that Trustfund plans to move into the untapped market as soon as the guidelines are put in place by the Pension commission. “The informal sector makes about 80 per cent of the prospective contributors in the country. So, we are working with National Pension Commission, which is setting up guidelines and platforms to capture this strategic sector of the Nigerian economy,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Ugandan government has lauded the ownership structure of Trustfund Pensions describing it as a perfect setting required to boost confidence in pension administration.
Lugoloobi, who lauded the ownership structure of Trustfund, said the foremost pension administrator has a prefect ownership structure that evokes trust among workers. Particularly, he highlighted that the involvement of the two labour centres – the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) underscored the protection of the interests of Nigerian workers.
The Ugandan lawmaker noted that the implementation of the contributory pension scheme by Nigeria has proven to be the way to go in pension fund administration.
“We are in Nigeria because we have heard that Nigeria is one of the countries that have done very well in pension management and we thought we have a few things to learn from pension administration that has been put in place by Nigeria. We are trying to reform the pension sub-sector of the Ugandan economy, which has been in turmoil.
“We are been on a working visit to National Pension Commission to study on pension funds move from the point of contribution to its final destination when retiree can access his or her retirement benefits and also how the money is invested with a view to generating income for those contributing into the scheme,” he said.
He stated that Uganda has about 160,000 workforce that do not contribute to pension fund, adding that this has led to huge unpaid pension fund. He said: “right now, we have so many retirees that have come up and that has put a lot of liabilities on the budget of the country that we have been unable to pay because the pension scheme in Uganda is not contributory.”
Lugoloobi stated that experiences from Nigeria would assist Uganda to set up a similar contributory pension scheme that would address the problem of pension in Uganda.
“The delegation is taking away a lot of experiences in terms of pension administration especially the separation of responsibilities between the custodian (company that keeps the fund) and the administrators of the fund that could give instructions on the investment of the fund but does not touch the money and also the person who is contributing the money who has retirement savings account that can monitor all the time the amount he has in his account,” he added.
Speaking while welcoming the delegation, Da-Souza expressed happiness that the company is chosen by Pencom as a point of visit by the delegation.
“We at Trustfund are elated that the company has played a leading role in the administration of pension funds in Nigeria. This is the third country that is coming to understudy Trustfund operations at their various stages of formation period preparatory to going into contributory pension scheme. Earlier delegations from Kenya and Ghana were here and now another one is coming from Uganda. This shows that Trustfund has done very well for the regulatory authority to present us as a must-stop pension Administrator that has to be visited for this kind of visit,” she said.
On the current challenges confronting pension administration in the country, Da-Souza identified the difficulty in getting state governments to establish similar scheme at the state level. She however stressed the willingness of some state government to join contributory pension has been a welcome development that would further add to the robustness of the scheme.
“Even though we have appreciable number of state governments keying into the scheme, there are still some that are hesitant. However, I am happy to inform that we are making huge progress with states such as Akwa Ibom, Anambra and Imo. These states have shown their willingness to introduce the scheme in their states. The challenge is to get all the state governments to buy into the scheme,” she added.