The National Pension Commission, PENCOM has extended the deadline it gave to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to comply with the Pension Reform Act 2014 thereby averting industrial action in the corporation
| By Maureen Chigbo | Sep. 29, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has taken steps to douse the tension between it and the staff over the pension scheme in the corporation. The tension was triggered off by the ultimatum the national pension body gave to the corporation to conform with the new pension law. After extensive discussion with the National Pension Commission, PENCOM, NNPC was able to extract an extension to the ultimatum the former gave it. The National Pension Commission has given a twelve-month window for the corporation to comply with the Pension Reform Act 2014 as amended. PENCOM had earlier directed the NNPC to “immediately take all necessary steps to transit to the Contributory Pension Scheme under the PRA”.
But in a fresh directive dated 15 September, 2014, PENCOM stated: “In order to accommodate your concerns, the commission hereby grants the NNPC a transition period of 12 (12) months within which to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the PRA 2014”.
Prior to the PENCOM new disposition, NNPC management had on Monday, September 15, assured members of staff and the general public that it would take steps to preempt any strike by the corporation’s arm of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN.
The corporation appealed to the leadership of the unions to exercise restraint while it embarked on extensive engagement with PENCOM to resolve the issues. The NNPC said that since the commencement of the scheme in 2006, the management and its staff have made a lot of sacrifice to maintain the existing scheme and any premature cancellation of the scheme may lead to avoidable labour disaffection across board.
While acknowledging the existence of some funding gaps in the scheme, NNPC informed stakeholders that measures have since been put in place to steadily bridge the funding deficit which stood at N298 billion in 2010 and has now been provisionally reduced to N85 billion as at June 2014. It stated that NNPC is in the process of transferring additional real estate property valued at several billions of naira to the scheme which is currently before the NNPC board for approval.
NNPC Pension Fund Limited, according to the management, has complied with the provisions of the PRA 2014, by transferring assets in equities, bonds, Certificates of Deposits and other marketable securities to the custody of Pension Funds Administrators for management as directed by PENCOM since 2006. “The NNPC Pension Fund has demonstrated its capacity to manage the scheme successfully by managing pension assets of over N250 billion for over eight years and maintaining an excellent record of administering and paying over 9000 retirees as and when due,” NNPC said in a press release signed by Ohi Alegbe, group general manager, September 16. The release also urges members of the public not to engage in panic buying assuring further that plans are on top gear to address the situation.