As pension assets under the contributory pension scheme continue to grow, investment in Federal Government’s securities has also sustained its increase being the highest and most attractive portfolio for the fund managers
Findings by New Telegraph revealed from the data released by the National Pension Commission (PenCom) in August that as of May this year, the total investment in Federal Government’s Securities peaked at N8.347 trillion from N8.107 trillion in January. A breakdown of the investments showed that within the five-month period, a total of N444 billion was added to the January figure.
According to the details, in January, the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) recorded a total of N8.107 trillion as investment in FG securities. This was followed by an in-crease of about N34 billion, bringing the total to N8.133 trillion in February. Also, an increase of N379 billion was added to the till, thereby increasing the total assets in the portfolio to N8.507 trillion.
The trend, however, experienced a decline of –N190.118 billion in April, which brought down the total investment to N8.347 trillion. The drop, according to experts, may not be unconnected with the fluctuating returns from Federal Government’s market portfolios, including bonds and treasury bills.
Despite the decline, the portfolio attracted more in May, being the most recent month released by the regulator, as the investment increased by N31.8 billion to N8.347 trillion. Specifically, the portfolios targeted in this regard include Federal Government Bonds, Treasury Bills, Agency Bonds, Sukuk and Green Bonds.
Recall that recently, the regulator revealed that the total assets under management had risen to N12.66 trillion, just as the number of registered contributors also moved up to 9.38 million.
The Director- General, National Penaion Commission (PenCom), Aisha Dahir- Umar, said the maintenance of a consistent growth trajectory continued to justify the Commission’s overriding investment philosophy of ensuring the safety of pension fund assets.
She, however, said COVID-19 disrupted business activities for the most part of last year, stressing that the pandemic necessitated a review of business processes across various organisations, and indeed engendered socio-economic disruptions of the entire global order, with multifarious challenges in conducting hitherto routine activities.
“It was, therefore, imperative for the Commission to deepen technological innovation as it seeks to navigate through the challenges imposed by the pandemic.” Reaffirming the need for public awareness, she said it was considered germane, considering that 17 years after the pension reform in Nigeria, there still exists a knowledge gap on CPS.
“Consequently, the Commission is committed to reinvigorating its public enlightenment and education drive in order to address this challenge.
“Other strategic focus areas include the resolution of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government; portfolio diversification of pension fund investments, improvement in customer service delivery across the pension industry and unrelenting pursuit of sustainable growth of the pension industry by expanding coverage of the CPS,” she noted.
On recent development at the commission, she said: “The most recent technological innovation introduced by the commission is the in-house designed and developed online Enrolment Application, which has capabilities to register, verify and enroll prospective retirees of Treasury- Funded Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“By the deployment of this new application, mass gathering of people has been avoided while enhancing convenience for the prospective retirees through a seamless enrolment process.
“Another notable technological innovation by the commission was the design and deployment of the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) Transfer System (RTS), which was launched in November 2020.
“RTS is a Computer Application developed by the Commission, through which RSA holders transfer their RSAs from one Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to another. Indeed, the activation of the RSA transfer provision, which deepens individual choices, is a major milestone in the implementation of the CPS.”