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Pension fund not for budget deficits, says Oshiomhole


OshiomholeThe National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has declared that funds from workers’ pension deductions are not meant to be used for budget deficit by Federal and state governments.

He said they are rather meant to address the critical issues of the masses, the contributors of the money.

Oshiomhole spoke on Wednesday at the opening of the Presidential Policy Retreat at the Council Chamber of the State House, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

President Muhammadu Buhari had declared the retreat open.

The APC National Chairman also called for rejig of the nation’s security architecture.

He urged participants to brainstorm towards getting practical solutions to the problems facing Nigeria.

On corruption, the former Edo State governor advised the government to effectively block leakages with all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by reviewing how to achieve it.

Oshiomhole also recommended long-term national economy plan to replace the current Economic Growth and Recovery Plan.

Acknowledging that so much progress had been made in the past four years in the fight against corruption, economy and security, the APC national chairman said there were still huge challenges and room for improvement.

He said: “The logic behind introducing the pension scheme under PENCOM was that the workers’ social capital, which they deducted every month and which they would not need to draw on until they retire about 30 years or 35 years later, provides a basis for long-term fund.

“Happily, PENCOM has generated over N5 trillion to N6 trillion since it started operation. Unfortunately, the money is borrowed by government, both Federal and states, and it is not available to address the social purpose of the working people whose contributions the pension fund evolved.

“I asked our experts to recognise that the primary purpose of the workers’ social capital is that it would be creatively managed and deployed to workers’ social needs, including housing, education and all the other factors.

“It wasn’t meant to fund government’s deficit; it wasn’t meant to support Federal Government’s deficit; it was meant to address the primary social purpose of those who work so that they are sure that by the time they finish their employment, that they are retired, they have a modest home to retire into.

“I think we must visit these issues, address them because this President, if he has opposition, it is among the rich; if he has support, it is among the poor. The poor people’s money must be used to address the critical challenges of the poor.

“May God drive our thoughts, our processes and rejig everything so that at the end of the day, those people would say, ‘Yes, Sai Baba! We elected him, we trusted him and he has delivered’.”

Top government officials at the retreat included Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; business mogul Alhaji Aliko Dangote; frontline banker, Mr Jim Ovia and former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn.

The governors included those of Kebbi, Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Imo, Bauchi, Ekiti, Edo, Borno and Lagos states.

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