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PENCOM: Law enforcement agents to go after defaulters

By on September 4, 2015

The Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, has said the commission will send law enforcement agents to prosecute employers who deduct the contributory pension from their employees’ salaries but refuse to remit the deductions to the designated pension managers.

Anohu-Amazu who spoke in Abuja with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the commission was concerned about the practice which she described as a crime.

She said: ”Right now, even in PENCom, we have a whole department devoted to enforcement and compliance. We have also engaged recovery agents because the compliance is on many level. Some people have made deductions from their salaries and have not remitted into their Retirement Savings Account (TSA). We are calling out on those people and we are going to work with the appropriate law enforcement agencies because it is a financial crime to take money out of an employees salary and do not remit it to his Retirement Savings Account.

“It is something we take seriously.”
Anohu-Amazu also said there were those who had not even complied with the Pension Act at all by opening a pension account and the commission would reach out to them.

According to her,  one of the commission’s priority  this year is to ensure that every one, whether in a formal employment or not is brought under the scheme. She explained that ensuring compliance with the Pension Act remained a challenge.

“We need a lot more people on the scheme and the president has directed that we work with the vice-president so that we can get the National Economic Council (NEC) to work with PENCOM  to ensure that all the states are in full compliance as soon as possible,” she said.

She said only 11 per cent (6.637 million retirement saving accounts) of the working population had  pension accounts.

The contributory pension regime came into existence in 2004.

The PENCOM boss said the president had also directed  the immediate resolution of the problem associated with pensioners in ability to access their pensions.

She explained that most of the pensioners who are not able to access their benefit, had to do with accrued rights, and those who were federal government workers and had moved to the contributory pensions systems midway into their career.

“So they have accrued right coming from their past service under the defined benefit under the federal government and what you have is because our budget is not as robust as we would wish; we have dwindling resources and every sector of the economy is affected.

“But the president has also directed that this matter be looked into and prioritised so that those who have retired receive their payment benefits as at when due,” she said.