The National Pension Commission (PENCOM) is making adequate preparations to partner other West Africa pension organisations to establish a strong and reliable pension scheme in the sub-region.
The Director-General of PENCOM, Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, made the plan known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.
“On partnership, the truth is that if one wants to partner with someone you must put your house in order before you want the person to join you.
“If we have shown ability to leverage on domestic financing to solve our own challenges, we have to put a lot of instruments that are credit enhanced and free of risks so that people will join us,’’ Anohu-Amazu, said.
She said that the objective of the recent summit organised by the commission was to ensure that West Africa had an integrated pension system.
Anohu-Amazu, explained that there was a greater representation of African countries in the recent summit unlike the years before.
She said that as the number of African countries were getting bigger in the summit “we must integrate the entire West African sub-region’’.
Anohu-Amazu said continental integration would have to start with regional integration, adding that PENCOM was working to make the sub-regional integration happen.
The director-general said: “this is doable and at present, there are projects that are running from Nigeria to Cote d’Ivoire.
“These are things we can bring to the fore and there will be requirements from every state.
‘’Member states have to make sure their roads leading to other states are good.’’
Anohu-Amazu said that the dream was achievable and that was one of the reasons the recent Pension Summit held in Nigeria.
“By nature, Africans are competitive, they need to do something bigger than what the other person did.
“So we are working on providing a platform that would, next year, make us win a prize,’’ she said.
She said the commission would address all bottlenecks in pension administration and deliver concrete windows to the contributors and retirees.
On the issue of PENCOM building houses for the retirees, as advised by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Anohu-Amazu said “any policy on pension must be taken with caution’’.
She explained that anything the commission would go into, must have a clear return for the retirement savings account of the retirees.
She said that this had been the focus of the commission.
She said President Muhammad Buhari had directed the commission to ensure both salary earners and people in the informal sector were captured in the pension scheme.
The director-general promised that the commission would eliminate all barriers to ensure people in the informal sector joined the pension scheme.
Anohu-Amazu, however, advised Nigerians to save for their retirement and old age to be able to maintain quality lifestyles in future.
She said if one could not save when he earned little he might not save when he earned higher incomes.