Assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme rose by N842.73bn in the first half of 2022 to hit N14.27tn as of the end of June.
Figures obtained from the National Pension Commission on its ‘Unaudited report on pension funds industry portfolio for the period ended 30 June 2022; Approved Existing Schemes, Closed Pension Fund Administrators and RSA funds (Including unremitted contributions @CBN & legacy funds) have shown.
The data showed that N9tn of the total funds was invested in Federal Government securities, comprising bonds and treasury bills.
Other investment portfolios where the funds were invested include domestic and foreign ordinary shares; corporate debt securities comprising corporate bonds, corporate infrastructure bonds, corporate green bonds, and supranational bonds
According to PenCom, the total number of RSA holders stood at 9,795,957 during the period under review.
The Pension Reform Act, which led to the CPS, was inaugurated in 2004.
It provides a contributory arrangement in which the employer and employee contribute to the workers’ RSAs.
The funds which are kept by the Pension Fund Custodians are managed by the Pension Fund Administrators.
The Director, Centre for Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor, said, “The funds are invested by the Pension Fund Administrators on behalf of the workers, based on guidelines issued by the Regulator.
“The investment is carried out with two principal objectives, which are adequate return on investment and the safety of the fund.”
According to the Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria, the CPS has helped to foster savings culture in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer, PenOp, Oguche Agudah, said prior to the enactment of the act, Nigeria did not have large pools of domestic savings.
He said, “Many Nigerians do not have any other form of savings, except through this Contributory Pension Scheme. What we should be doing as a nation is to encourage more of these savings rather than looking to dismantle the system. This is probably the only form of savings most Nigerian workers are able to put aside for their retirement years
“As a matter of fact, what we need to promote, and the pension industry is leading on that, is to encourage more workers to add to their statutory deductions while working, as this would enable them shore up their balances over time.
“What we need to advocate more is the consistency and discipline in the contributions that will even remove the need for any large lump sum payout when retired.”
Explaining how the savings work for the contributors, he said, “If a worker were to save N20,000 consistently every month for 15 years with an interest rate of 10 per cent per annum compounded for the 15 years, at the end of the period, he would have amassed over N16m. This is the power of consistency and compounding which the current system provides, and which should be encouraged.”
He added, “If you were wealthy while working, a healthy savings, like a pension, will make you wealthier. Thus, pension will make you comfortable in retirement.”
The PenOp boss said under the CPS, it is what the worker savings in his RSA plus investment returns that he gets out.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Achor Actuarial Services Limited, Dr Pius Apere, said stakeholders in Nigerian pension industry have high expectations on the recently concluded recapitalisation in the sector to ensure timely, efficient and effective transformation of the industry to achieve the main objective of the CPS.
The objective, he noted it to ensure that every pensioner receives his retirement benefits as of when due.
“In addition, they expect to have adequate retirement income that would provide sustainable standard of living (not living in poverty) in retirement,” he said.
Apere said the regulatory recapitalisation of N5bn is expected to lead to stronger PFAs with improved capacity for more efficient service delivery.
He said, “In other words, it is likely to create a level playing field in the pension sector where all PFAs would have the necessary funds to deploy adequate technology and embark on human capital development required to achieve efficiency service delivery, such as enhancing the transfer window.
“Going forward, competition within the industry would mainly be based on efficient service delivery rather than capital. However, the operators will still have different levels of capital and size of assets under management which will remain a key competitive tool despite the regulatory recapitalisation requirement.”
According to him, there is need to revisit the investment returns and expenses allocation structure between the PFAs and RSA holders in order to ensure that the retirees’ expectations are met.
“In other words, a much higher percentage of the return on investment in pension assets must be allocated to RSA holders to cushion the effect of their retirement benefits being eroded by inflation,” he said.