By Lilian Ogbonna, For Agenda Watchdog, April 25, 2020
(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – The Suggestion to use part of the funds in the National Contributory Pension Fund for the provision of palliatives for poor and vulnerable Nigerians, consequent to the lockdown imposed by government to curb the further spread of #COVID-19, has been frowned at by the country’s apex labour body, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC’s President, stated the body’s position on the matter during the routine briefing of the Presidential Task force on #COVID-19 in Abuja, Friday, April 24, 2020.
In his words: “This is not free money; it is the money that belongs to the pensioner; it is in the pensioners retirement savings account. It is structured in such a way that he continues to draw this money throughout his life. So, clearly speaking, we need to protect these funds and ensure that the pensioners or the workers contributing these monies, such that at the end of the day, they would be able to have something to rely on. So, clearly, I think it should not be used for this (COVID-19 palliative) purpose.”
The Contributory Pension Scheme, which is estimated to be in the region of N10 trillion, was initiated in 2004. It is a mandatory scheme, that compels employees and employers in the public and private sectors to collectively save a minimum of eighteen percent of an employee’s monthly emolument into the employee RSA, from where employees will be paid retirement benefits.