NLC kicks against proposed amendment of pension law

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday kicked against the proposed amendment of the Pension Reform Act 2014 to exclude some agencies of government from the contributory pension scheme.

Mr Issa Aremu, NEC member of NLC, made this known on Thursday in a statement issued in Kaduna.

Aremu urged stakeholders on pension matters to reject the proposed controversial bill seeking to exclude members of the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Prison Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from the Contributory Pension Scheme.

He said the bill is sponsored by Rep. Oluwole Oke and has passed its second reading.

“Pension reform Acts of 2004 and 2014 were outcomes of executive bills, which addressed the delicate interests of the pensioners, government and the economy.

“In principle, a private member bill informed by narrow and vested interest consideration cannot do justice to all.

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The labour leader also said that any private member bill, which seeks to erode the gains of the 13-year-old Contributory Pension Scheme in terms of coverage and resource pool is “counterproductive” and should not be encouraged.

Aremu said pensions of the nation’s working men and women in security services are better secured in a national contributory Scheme than the old “unfunded and unsustainable discredited ‘Defined Benefits Scheme’ (DBS).

According to him, until the recent contributory pension reform “all stakeholders bore witness to ugly features of corruption, inefficiency and share looting”.

He added that this characterized the old Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS), adding that to return to the old era would mean bringing back corruption to pension administration through the National Assembly.

Aremu advised the National Assembly against what he called “the pitfalls of frequent self-serving out sourced amendments” of the Pension Act.

He observed that the pension Act has just been amended through executive and all inclusive review two years ago.

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The labour leader said with all its globally acknowledged successes, the contributory pension covers only 7 million workers.

Aremu lamented that to ask for exclusion of the security agencies will undermine the scheme with all the attendant negative implications for Nigerian economy just coming out of recession.

He, therefore, called all members of the Assembly to reject the private bill, which will return pensioners to the bad old days of non-payment of pensions.

Aremu urged legislators to through their oversight ensure appropriate budgetary appropriation for the accrued benefits arising from the old unfunded scheme is paid.

He also said that 60 million workforce in both informal and formal private sectors and states civil services are covered in the compulsory Contributory pension scheme.

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