Operators under the Contributory Pension Scheme have expressed their commitment to expand coverage of the Micro Pension Plan to the informal sector.

They spoke during an event in Lagos tagged, ‘Micro pension open day 2023’, which was attended by informal sector workers and other stakeholders in the financial sector.

They expressed their plan to boost coverage to over two million Nigerians in the informal sector of the economy, which employed the bulk of the workers.

The Chief Executive, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, Oguche Agudah, urged the informal sector workers to visualise how their needs would be met in the next 20 to 30 years without a pension plan.

Agudah said, “The country has the largest informal sectors who are not covered by any form of formal pension.

“We, in the pension industry, work to get as many informal sector workers as possible on a pension scheme.”

He added, “We are passionate about micro pension, as today’s event revolves around the audacious industrial goal to engage as many informal sector workers as possible, to sign up for the scheme for the benefit of Nigerians.”

The Head, the Micro Pension Department, PenCom, Dauda Ahmed, said as part of incentives to embrace micro pension, the commission was working toward adopting a minimum health insurance for eligible MPP participants.

Ahmed also stated that the commission was also engaging with labour unions, trade associations, and several groups on embracing the scheme in the country.

He said currently, MPP contributions as of May 2023 stood at N435.61m from 97,591 participants registered, while the total contingent withdrawal by 150 Micro Pension Contributors as of the month under review stood at N30.24m.

The commission, he said, recorded N6.51m as the amount converted by 581 Retirement Savings Accounts holders, under the informal sector to RSA’s under the formal sector.

Ahmed also identified some of the MPP challenges to include lack of awareness, mistrust about the pension system, absence of appropriate incentives, and lack of financial literacy.

According to him, the Pension Fund Administrators based MPP on short-term perspectives, especially in terms of financial benefits and the perceived associated cost.

He identified other factors impeding the implementation of the MPP as weak economic indices, inflation, and increased poverty level.

Also speaking at the event, the Head of the Financial Inclusion Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Paul Oluikpe, urged industry stakeholders to concentrate more efforts on activating plans and strategies capable of helping in deepening the pension fund industry considering the crucial roles of pension in achieving bigger band for financial inclusion in the country.

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