The Senate had on April 8, 2014, passed the bill and lowered the post-qualification years of experience of the director-general of PenCom from 20 to 15 years.

The bill, which was passed after a clause-by-clause consideration at the session presided over by deputy speaker Emeka Ihedioha, states in section 26 (2) (d) that ?the Director-General shall possess relevant and adequate professional qualification in pension matters with 15 years? cognate experience?.

The DG is to hold office for a term of four years in the first instance and shall be eligible for reappointment for another term of four years and no more.

While the bill retains the minimum of 8 per cent contribution of salary monthly by employees into the scheme as in the principal Act, it stipulates a minimum of 10 per cent monthly by the employer.

The bill also prescribes a 10-year jail term for anyone who misappropriates pension fund, apart from refunding three times the amount embezzled.

It also stipulates that all moneys received as penalty by the Pension Commission shall be paid into the Pension Protection Fund which had been established under section 82 of the Act.

The Act also mandates anyone who misappropriates pension fund to forfeit to the federal government any property, asset or fund with accrued interest on the stolen money.

Also, a fine of N10 million will be imposed on any pension fund administrator which failed to meet the obligations of the contributors while each of the directors of the firm would pay N5 million as fine.

The Act, according to its explanatory memorandum, ?repeals the Pension Reform Act, 2004 and enacts the Pension Reform Act, 2013 to continue to govern and regulate the administration of the uniform contributory pension scheme for both the public and private sectors in Nigeria and for matters connected therewith?.

The objectives of the piece of legislation include to: ?establish a uniform set of rules, regulations and standards for the administration and payments of retirement benefits for the Public Service of the Federation, the Public Service of the Federal Capital Territory, the Public Service of the State Governments, the Public Service of the Local Government Councils and the Private Sector.?

Other purposes of the Act are to ?make provision for the smooth operations of the Contributory Pension Scheme?.

Additionally, the Act will ? ensure that every person who worked in either the Public Service of the Federation, Federal Capital Territory, States and Local Governments or the Private Sector receives his retirement benefits as and when due.

The new bill which has 121clauses and 15 sections was passed after the chairman of the House Committee on Pensions, Hon. Ibrahim Bawa Kamba, moved for the consideration of the report of his committee on the bill entitled ? A bill for an act to repeal the Pension Reform Act, No.2 of 2004 and Re- enact the Pension Reform Act, 2013 to make provision for Contributory Pensions Scheme and for other connected matters?.

The new bill will also ?assist improvident individuals by ensuring that they save in order to cater for their livelihood during old age?.


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