About 28,000 Nigerians from the informal sector have been enrolled into the micro pension scheme, since the scheme was launched in March, 2019.
Head, Corporate Communications, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Peter Aghahowa, who disclosed this at the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria ( PenOp), annual Media Seminar in Lagos today, said 19 Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) have registered 28,000 micro pension participants as at October, 2019.
Giving the breakdown, Aghahowa said up till June 2019, 21,430 participants were registered, in July 2019, 221 participants were registered, in August 2019, 1,299 Nigerians were registered, in September 2019, 2737 participants were registered and in October 2019, 2313 participants were registered.
While over 40 million Nigerians in the formal sector have no pension plan, which account for about 65 per cent of the GDP, Aghahowa said registration has however been challenged due to low financial literacy, because a lot of Nigerians at the low income level still do not understand the benefits of pension and as such often mistake the scheme as scam.
Other challenges highlighted by the head of communication, are low National Identity Number (NIN), which is one of the criteria for registration; low awareness about the scheme and inadequate technology platform to support the registration process.
Tackling these challenges, the commission has embarked on a campaign across the traditional, social and digital media, engaging with union, associations, professional bodies and Non Governmental Organizations, says Aghahowa.
“Though NIN has slowed down the process of micro pension registration, PenCom has however collaborated with the DescriptionNational Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that participants get their numbers on time to fast track registration.
“The commission is working on having its own USSD code to ease payment of pension contribution for enrollees,” he added.
Though the micro pension scheme is moving at a slow pace, the President, PenOp, Aderonke Adedeji, said there is need to give it time, to avoid mistakes.
Speaking on the growth of the industry, Adedeji said since 15 years of setting up the contributory pension scheme, it has grown to N9.7 trillion.
“However, we are not yet where we want to be. We need to address the issue of transfer window and the slow registration of NIN, but we are making progress in that aspect.
“In recent time we have been experiencing slow pace of growth of the industry and the reason is not far fetched.
“In terms of the state of the Nigerian economy, we have increase in unemployment rate which is a threat to the growth of the industry,” she added.
Adedeji however said the solid structure that the industry has put in place has continued to yield results despite the challenges facing the Nigerian economy.