About 8.85 million Nigerian workers have been registered under the Contributory Pension Scheme, the acting Director-General, National Pension Commission, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, has said.

She disclosed this on Thursday during a pension seminar in Benin, Edo State, adding that the number was recorded as of the end of September.

She said, “As of September 2019, the number of registered contributors under the CPS had grown to 8.85 million while pension fund assets had grown to N9.58tn. This growth indeed justifies our emphasis on the safety of pension funds as the bedrock of sustaining the CPS. We assure all stakeholders that the pension reform remains steadily on course.”

Dahir-Umar said the commission’s current strategic focus aimed to expand access to pension via the CPS, as a veritable tool for economic development.

This aligned with the pension reform objective of old age poverty reduction and improvement in the welfare and general standard of living, she added.

She said the quest to expand coverage of pension was being pursued through some transformational initiatives, especially the micro pension plan.

The PenCom boss mentioned that the MPP, which was launched in March 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari, was targeted at the informal sector and self-employed who were not mandatorily covered under the CPS.

“It is noteworthy that the MPP was designed with significant flexibility in recognition of the peculiarities of the targeted population,” she said.

She also mentioned that the Enhanced Contributor Registration System was an in-house developed ICT application, which was deployed in June 2019 to enhance the integrity of the contributors’ database.

Dahir-Umar said it had been integrated with the National Identity Management Commission database to help authenticate the uniqueness of individuals seeking to register under the CPS.

According to her, the ECRS provided a platform for the registration of micro pension plan participants and is a major step towards the introduction of the transfer window, which will enable contributors to change to the PFAs of their choice, in line with Section 13 of the Pension Reform Act 2014.

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