Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission(FCCPC) has begun investigation into the activities of the Lagos Chapter of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) over setting uniform prices for their services.

Babatunde Irukera,Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC,who confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday,said the Commission
had received information from multiple channels, including credible media, on a
purported decision of AMMBAN on behalf of certain Point of Sale (PoS) operators which included setting uniform prices across operators for a range of transaction services.

He said,the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act (2018) (FCCPA) recognises; indeed encourages the prerogative of businesses to organise in, and as trade associations for acceptable purposes, such as ensuring and enforcing applicable standards and best practices, as well as a measure of self-regulation within the profession or trade.

He,however,maintained that FCCPA extensively limits the scope and extent of such collaboration, particularly to exclude coordination with respect to scope or supply of services and price of services.

According to him,the FCCPA expressly prohibits any price-fixing or agreement among undertakings (whether bilaterally or multilaterally) or by undertakings acting in consensus on the platform, or under the aegis of an association to fix prices, coordinate supply or any other commercially sensitive factors that can limit or substantially prevent competition; or otherwise distort the market.

He expressed that an aspiration by members of a profession or businesses in a trade association to prevent fraud; excessive or unjust prices is laudable, however, fixing prices is not an acceptable or even proven way to accomplish these goals.

He added that fixing prices distorts the market, prevents innovation and efficiency and does not redound to the benefit of consumers or other businesses except the participants of such illegal conspiracies or conduct.

He said:”The FCCPA provides stiff penalties for cartels or any similar coordinated or collusive conduct among competitors, even at association levels; and the Commission will seek to enforce the law to its fullest extent possible where there is sufficient evidence that a business has, or is participating in any such prohibited conduct or arrangement either directly, or indirectly.

“To the extent that any combination of undertakings, including AMMBAN indeed, met, agreed or decided to impose uniform or coordinated fees/tariffs for services, this announcement should serve to ensure such undertakings cease and desist from that arrangement or similar discussions/conduct.

“The Commission is also opening an investigation to ensure the purported statement by AMBANN is not truly representative or erroneous. Where evidence demonstrates that the statement is factually accurate, the Commission will take appropriate regulatory steps to address the conduct accordingly.”

Retirees Hail PenCom Over Reforms In Industry

Concerned Retirees and Prospective Pensioners in Nigeria on Tuesday commended the National Pension Commission (PenCom) over its numerous reforms in the pension industry.

They also commended PenCom for the newly launched edition of the Pension Enhancement for Retirees on Programmed Withdrawal under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

Speaking in Abuja, the leader of the delegation, who led members to PenCom office, Auwal Garba appreciated the federal government for the various reform in the pension industry.

He also thanked federal government for all the numerous things it has done, while wishing it the best in 2023.

The Director General of PenCom Aisha Dahir-Umar, insisted that pensioners will receive their pension as at when due.

The PenCom DG, who was represented by the Commissioner of Administration, Farouq Aminu, said that one of the most important thing in the pension is that “we keep your money.

She explained what they are doing and what they have done as commission, adding that when a staff is sacked, such staff loses all benefit, gratuity and others.

The DG, who further explained that the 1999 constitution provide that pension should be reviewed upward, pointed out how federal government has increased pension overtime.

The commission explained what it does with the pension and how it was been invested, adding that pension money is not used to settle loan.

“The law says, nobody can get the money from your account, even when you take loan. This is not allowed by law. Even you cannot take the money because it is for pension. You are not allowed to take the money.If there are no retirees, there’s no need for PenCom that is why we have to make you happy all the time,” the commission said.

PENCOM Says N14.5trn Pension Fund Not Idle   .

The National Pension Commission of Nigeria (PENCOM),says the N14.5trillion available pension fund is not idle, as the fund has been properly invested.

It explained how the fund was invested while meeting with the Senate Committee on Finance currently interfacing with government agencies on proposals for the 2023- 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Frame Work (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

The agency added that N9 .5trillion out of the N14.5 trillion is invested in federal government security, N1.23trillion in equity shares, while 35% of the fund is invested in money market.

The Executive Chairman of PENCOM, Aisha Dahiru Umar, who stated these in her submission to the Senate Committee on Finance, assured of payment of pensioners a week after retirement.

According to her, backlog of accrued rights component of pension payments to pensioners causing delay in payment over the years, is almost cleared by the Federal Government.

She said within the last seventeen years, the federal government has been paying N49billion per month to offset the accrued rights backlog of pensioners.

She also said: “Late payment of pension to pensioners will be a thing of the past very soon as required steps in that direction have been taken by the federal government, whose retirees are affected.”

She advised pensioners to carry out required documentation a year to their retirement in fast tracking the whole process.

The committee, however, said the yearly repeated N102million overhead subvention given the agency by the federal government will be removed aside the N26billion yearly inserted into the Commission budget without cash backing.

10,085 Firms Now Eligible For Govt Business -PenCom

The National Pension Commission gave clearance certificates to 10,085 organizations for complying with pension and insurance covers for their employers in the second quarter of 2022.

The commission said the organizations can do business with the Federal Government.

It stated in its second quarter report on, ‘Issuance of pension clearance certificates’ that “The commission received 12,760 applications from private sector organizations for the issuance of Pension Clearance Certificates.

“Of this number, PCCs were issued to 10,085 organisations, while 2,675 applications were being processed. The records showed that the 4,025 organisations had remitted a total sum of N43.78bn into the Retirement Savings Accounts of their employees, totalling 141,701.”

The commission said contractors, consultants or suppliers seeking to do business with the government must fully comply with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014,adding that it had issued annual Pension Clearance Certificates to eligible organisations.

“MDAs are reminded to ensure that only Pension Clearance Certificates issued by the commission are accepted as evidence of compliance with the provisions of the PRA 2014,” it stated.

The commission said the firms must provide evidence of remittance of monthly pension contributions for all employees.

It said that they must provide evidence of group life insurance policy for employees, specifying the number of lives and sum assumed.

In the directive, the commission stated that in accordance with the provisions of Section 4(5) of the 2014 and Section 5.5 of the guidelines for life insurance policy for employees, employers of labour covered by the PRA 2014 were required to submit copies of the insurance certificates with the schedule of benefits to the commission.

Recapitalization Will Catalyze Nigeria’s Pension Industry

The National Pension Commission (PenCom)has expressed optimism that the recent recapitalisation exercise in the pension industry will bring about increased effectiveness and efficiency as well as improved service delivery in the sector.

The Director-General, National Pension Commission, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, who disclosed this at the 2022 workshop organized by PenCom to journalists in Lagos, also promised to continue to develop and implement innovative polices to foster safety and fair returns on pension fund investment as the pension industry and financial system evolves.

She was represented at the event by the Head of Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Abdulqadir Dahiru

She disclosed that the Commission was taking strategic steps to encourage more participation of workers from the informal sector of the economy in the Micro Pension Plan in order to expand the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

She also said the theme of this year’s workshop, “Increasing Informal Sector Participation in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS): The case for Micro Pension Plan”, aligns with the Commission’s objective of expanding coverage of the CPS.

According to her,the objective is to bring in to the CPS, Nigerians working in the informal sector and those who are self employed through the Micro Pension Plan (MPP), noting that “it is of utmost importance to educate the media on the MPP and enlist your support to make the Plan popular amongst informal sector workers and the self-employed.

She added that the Commission’s directive to increase the Minimum Regulatory Capital (Shareholders’ Fund) from N1 billion to N5 billion. was to ramp up the capacity of the Pension Fund Administrators to manage the increasing number of registered contributors, and the value of pension fund assets.

She disclosed that as at June 30, 2022, the number of registered contributors and the pension fund assets stood at 9,795,957million and N14.27 Trillion, respectively.


FG  Disburses N90 billion To Pensioners  Annually

PTAD Executive Secretary, Dr. Chioma N. Ejikeme receives Nigerian Union of  Pensioners (NUP) National leadership - PTAD - Pension Transitional  Arrangement Directorate
The  Executive Secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, (PTAD), Dr. Chioma Ejikeme ,says Federal government pays over N90b to Pensioners in the country  annually
She spoke in Enugu at the launch of I Am Alive App  aimed at easing the stress of verification exercise for pensioners.
She said” Pensioners  have never find it easy in Nigeria like during this administration because Federal Government under President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration  pays over over 90 billion as pension every year.This is only  monthly pension and not arrears because monthly pension waybill is about over N9b so when you add arrears and wages is huge amount”
She justified the launch of the app.
 She said:”This  Is the only solution to confirm aliveness of our pensioners. When a pensioner is deceased he or she is no longer suppose to be on our pay roll and we don’t want to continue to pool them out on field verification exercise to confirm if they are alive because that would have been an alternative but it stressful for them and expensive for them and the government.
“So  with this solution of I Am alive app, they can confirm their aliveness from their home using technology within their community by using a smart phone or computer system.  We don’t want a situation where some pensioners that are deceased will  still be collecting pension but with this new app, it will be easy to detect such even if we don’t get information from their next of kin or pension union,” she said
38,518 Pension Contributors Migrate To New  PFAs

Contributory pensions: Over 91,000 Retirement Savings Accounts registered  in Q1 –PenCom -
The National Pension Commission,says
no fewer than 38,518 workers who were displeased with their Pension Fund Administrators moved to other PFAs and transferred N148.11bn in their Retirement Savings Accounts within one year.
The  agency disclosed  this in a report titled ‘Quarterly summary of Retirement Savings Accounts transferred by Pension Fund Administrators’.
According to the report, 12,681 workers transferred N47.78bn in the first quarter of 2021, compared to 2,799 workers who transferred N18.90bn in the same period of 2020.
It said 12,872 workers transferred N45.56bn in Q3 2021, up from 10,166 workers who transferred N35.89bn in Q2 2021.
The pension regulator opened the transfer window in November 2020.
According to PenCom, Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act 2014 empowers an RSA holder to transfer their RSA to any PFA of choice, not more than once a year.
“Effective transfer of RSAs from one PFA to another requires an accurate and reliable database as it is important to ensure that the pension assets transferred belong to the bona-fide RSA holders initiating the transfers,” it said.
PenCom noted that the opening of the RSA transfer window was delayed to ensure that robust IT infrastructure that would drive the process was put in place.
It said the process was finalised in June 2019 with the deployment of an enhanced contributor registration system for the pension industry.
The pension regulator said the ECRS incorporated extensive validations, controls and data requirements that would deliver high data integrity standards for the pension industry.
It said the upgrade of RSA holders’ details to meet the ECRS standards was, therefore, a prerequisite for RSA transfers.
Those who registered with various PFAs from inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme to June 2019 were required to get recaptured, it added.
Remittance:PenCom Commences  Sanction  On Defaulting Employers

PenCom Urges Employees To Report Default In Remittance - SuperNewsng
The National Pension Commission has commenced clampdown on employers who deducted monthly pensions from employees’ salaries but failed to remit them to their Pension Funds Administrators.
It has appointed recovery agents to go after the defaulting employers to recover outstanding liabilities,according to the agency’s second quarter report for 2021.
According to the  report,workers who attained the age of 50 and retired under the Contributory Pension Scheme but were not entitled to monthly pensions rose to 123,758 as of the end of June 2021.
It disclosed that the  affected public and private sector workers got a total refund of N31.46bn from their PFAs which constituted the total balance in their RSAs.
It noted that most of the affected retirees had less than N550,000 balance in their Retirement Savings Accounts with the respective PFAs.
The agency added that a few of them included nationals of other countries who were relocating back to their countries.
It said:“During the quarter under review, the commission approved en-bloc payment of retirement benefits to 2,024 retirees whose RSA balances were N550,000 or below and considered insufficient to procure programmed withdrawal or retiree life annuity of a reasonable amount for an expected life span.In this regard, a total sum of N527.23m was paid to the 2,024 retirees from both the public and private sectors.”
PenCom noted that the ridiculously low contributions recorded during their working years made it impossible for them to be placed on the payroll of either their PFAs or insurance companies.
In line with the regulation of the CPS, retirees with less that N550,000 are meant to be given all the monies they contributed as such were deemed to be too small to be managed by the PFAs or life insurers, either as programmed withdrawal or as life annuity.
PenCom said it appointed recovery agents as part of efforts to clamp down on activities of employers who deducted the monthly emolument of their workers but did not remit to the respective PFAs.
The RAs were mandated to recover the outstanding liabilities with penalties from defaulting employers.
Pencom:Pension Assets To  Hit N12.9tn

Nigeria's Total Pension Assets Hit N12.3tn in 2020 - PenCom
The National Pension Commission(Pencom),says assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme rose by N120bn in August, this year
PenCom disclosed this in its latest unaudited report on pension funds industry portfolio,adding that the assets rose from N12.78tn at the end of July to N12.9tn in Aug ust.
The agency  also  disclosed that the total Retirement Savings Accounts rose slightly from 9,405,553 in July to 9,427,003 at the end of August.
The operators invested N8.29tn of the funds in Federal Government’s securities, while the rest was invested in other portfolios such as domestic and foreign ordinary shares, corporate debt securities, local money market and mutual funds.
A former Director-General, Lagos State Pension Commission, Mrs Folashade Onanuga, said the pension scheme was designed to address the problem of inadequate or no preparation for retirement.
She said, “However, the scheme has done much more – it has allowed incredible mobility for employees in the for retirement.
“It has simplified the administrative processes, reduced drastically the fraudulent practices in pension scheme administration but is yet to fully address the issue of ensuring that retirement benefits are paid as and when due, most especially where benefits accrue to workers under the defined benefit plan.”
She said pension benefits received by many in the CPS dispensation had been considered very inadequate to give comfort in old age.
Pencom:Pension Funds Invested In Banks Hit N2.05tn

Pension funds invested in banks rise to N2.05tn – PenCom - Punch Newspapers
The National Pension Commission(Pencom),has said that the  total amount of pension funds invested in banks by Pension Fund Administrators rose to N2.05tn at the end of July from N1.48tn in January.
The agency disclosed this in its report, titled ‘Unaudited report on pension funds industry portfolio for the period ended 31 July 2021’,adding that total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme stood at N12.78tn as of the period under review.
It also  said the operators had invested a substantial part of the pension funds in the Federal Government’s bonds, treasury bills, and state government securities.
According to the agency,some of the funds were invested in agency bonds, supra-national bonds, commercial papers, foreign money market securities, and open/close-end funds.
Other investment portfolios where the operators invested the funds are real estate investment trusts, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, cash, and other assets.