The National Pension Commission has said it has commenced legal actions against employers who have not been remitting the monthly pension contributions of their workers into their Retirement Savings Account as well as those who refused to register their employees under the scheme.
The Director-General, PenCom, Mr. Muhammad Ahmad, who disclosed this to our correspondent in an exclusive interview, said the commission resorted to this option after several attempts to encourage voluntary compliance by the employers failed. He, however, did not disclose the affected firms.
“The commission has introduced various sanction regimes to ensure that all eligible private sector organisations are in full compliance with the scheme. As a last resort, some legal actions have been taken against some of these employers,” he said.
According to him, some of the steps taken so far to ensure voluntary compliance include moral suasion, and naming and shaming policy through the publication of errant private sector employers’ names in newspapers.
Other methods, he added, were public enlightenment, media campaign and collaboration with regulatory and professional bodies.
Ahmad said the commission had been having series of stakeholders’ engagements with different bodies such as the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, among others.
In addition, the PenCom boss said recovery agents had been appointed to recover all pension contributions with interest from defaulting organisations.
Ahmad said that the commission would recover outstanding contributions together with interest from defaulting organisations in line with section 11(7) of the Pension Reform Act, 2004.
According to him, PenCom has commenced the selection of firms that are interested in serving as recovery agents to approach defaulting organisations from later this month.
Other means of recovering outstanding contributions, he said, were the engagement of consultants, disclosure requirement, issuance of compliance letters, financial literacy and enforcement.
Ahmad said the commission made an on-site inspection to 45 manufacturing companies last year, that had opened about 9,136 Retirement Savings Accounts and remitted N1.88bn.
He added that 48 private schools were also inspected in the same way and had opened 4,060 RSAs with a total remittance value of N2.24bn.
The PenCom boss said that in the aviation and logistic sector, about 45 firms were inspected and had opened 4,708 RSAs with a total value of N4.19bn.
The commission also said that 47 private security companies were inspected that had opened 4,913 RSAs, with a total value of N2.69bn.
Ahmad, however, said all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government were in full compliance with the PRA except for a few.
The Chairman, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Mr. Dave Uduanu, said the Contributory Pension Scheme would solve the hiccups experienced in the older pension schemes in the country.