PenOp wishes to state unequivocally that the passage of this bill sets a dangerous precedent that will not augur well for hardworking Nigerians, working across the private and public sector, who depend on the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for retirement security and stability. The introduction of the CPS in Nigeria marked a departure from the unsustainable pension schemes the country had been operating in the past. This scheme has brought transparency, international best practice and guaranteed peace of mind to millions of pensioners. For these reasons and many more, the need for the above bill is indeed unfathomable and unjustifiable.
In a statement-exemption of the national assembly staff from the contributory pension scheme (cps) – matters arising said The Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) wishes to draw the attention of the general public to the “Bill for an Act to amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014, to Exclude/Exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme and Establish the National Assembly Service Pension Board; and for Related Matters (HB 2025)” which was recently passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly. This bill seeks to exempt the National Assembly Service from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), which has been in practice in Nigeria for the last 18 years.
More particularly, PenOp wishes to express grave concern regarding the way this bill was passed. The passage of this bill seems to have been unnecessarily expedited and shrouded in secrecy with very little engagement and input from critical stakeholders—as it was passed during the National Assembly’s recess. Indeed, it is disturbing that this bill did not go through any public hearing, a key component of the legislative process that allows stakeholders to have their voices and opinions heard for possible inclusion in the process. If this was done, pertinent issues such as the amendment of retirement age, funding of pension liability, and the potential debt burden on government—all of which are affected by this bill—would have been debated and brought to the fore.
The National Assembly prides itself as the heart of our democracy. Indeed, the halls of the National Assembly are the people’s halls. As such, it is extremely important that the legislative authority the National Assembly wields is in no way subverted to serve vested interests in passing anti-people legislation. The exemption of any agency or group from the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) holds grave consequences for the Nation’s struggling fiscal position and will potentially upend the retirement security of pensioners who have given their blood and sweat in service to our great Nation.
Therefore, without reservations, PenOp, as a critical stakeholder in Nigeria’s pension industry, wishes to state that it considers the passage of this bill a procedural anomaly and legislative immorality. Hence, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to note this grave anomaly and join us in calling on the National Assembly to reconsider its decision as well as enjoin the Executive and the Judiciary to outrightly condemn this action. More specifically, we call on the National Economic Council, the Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and all relevant government stakeholders to look into this anti-people bill and ensure that it is not signed into law. Finally, should this bill proceed to Mr. President, we call on him to kindly refuse to assent to this bill in the interest of the people, the sustainability of the Nation’s pension system and the flawed procedure in which this bill went through.