The National Pension Commission(PenCom) has recovered over N11 billion between 2013 and 2017, from employers who refused to remit the pension contributions of their workers into the Retirement Savings Account(RSA).
The commission specifically applauded the recovery agents for their feat in getting the money, adding that the commission learnt that several thousands of employers were not funding their workers’ RSAs, which necessitated the need for the exercise in the sector.Non-remittance, according to PenCom, is a crime under the law, adding that the commission is now partnering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure that all outstanding contributions from erring employers would be remitted.
Meanwhile, PenCom also said it is partnering with the anti-graft agency to prosecute defaulting employers, adding that the commission is compiling the list of erring employers, who have not been remitting deducted pension contributions for prosecution, in a move to address the growing menace recorded by the industry. “Non-remittance is on two fronts- those who are not contributing at all and those who have their contributions deducted from their salaries and not sent to their RSA. That in itself is a financial crime. We are working very closely with EFCC and there is strong collaboration. We are compiling the list of those that are not remitting because that is theft.
“We receive calls from individuals showing proof of deductions from their salaries and when they look at statements from their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), it does not tally,” PenCom noted.
The Director of Centre for Pension Right Advocacy, Ivor Takor, who also spoke on the development, charged the Federal Government and states to priortise funding of their respective workers’ RSAs.He said the Federal Government was unable to remit pension contributions as and when due, while most illiquid states have suspended pension budget for now, instead, paying salaries without remitting the employer’s monthly pension contributions into their workers RSAs.
“We understood that the FG has not been able to remit pension contributions as and when due and this has to do with not only the employer’s contributions, but what then is happening to the contribution of the employees, because it has been deducted from their salaries and the law says the deduction should be paid into the RSAs of the employees, not later than seven days after salaries are paid,” he said.
Stating that these are issues that need to be addressed holistically, he added that it’s unfortunate that some of these governors left office and made only some segmented pension laws that only cover them and their office holders, some of them drawing massively from the purse of the state in the name of pension to build houses and cars and did not make laws for the state workers. “This is very bad. It’s immoral and should be addressed by current governors,” he added.
The Director-General of Lagos Pension Commission (LASPEC), Folashade Onanuga, said despite the challenges the states are passing through, their inability to priortise pension was responsible for the pension backlog they owe.“Even though there are lots of things contending with state funds, I believe if there is a commitment towards pension, states will always find a way to pay it,” she said.