House Passes Pension Reform Bill
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, April 30, (THEWILL) â€' At long last, the House of Representatives Wednesday passed the Pension Reform Act 2013. It will now meet with the Senate for harmonisation. The Senate had earlier okayed the Bill on April 8. The bill is titled: 'A bill for an act to repeal the Pension Reform Act, No2 of 2004 and Re- enact the Pension Reform Act, 2013 to make provision for Contributory Pensions Scheme and for other connected matters.'
Chairman of the House Committee on Pensions, Hon. Ibrahim Bawa Kamba, moved for the consideration of the report of his committee on the bill and the House dissolved into committee of the Whole presided over by deputy speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
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 conected therewith.'
The objectives of the legislation include amongst other things 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 will also 'assist improvident individuals by ensuring that they save in order to cater for their livelihood during old age.' While the bill retains the minimum of eight percent contribution of salary monthly by employees into the scheme as in the Principal Act, it stipulates a minimum of 10 percent monthly by the employer.
The bill also prescribed a 10-year jail term for anyone who misappropriates pension fund apart from refunding three times, the amount embezzled.
In addition, it stipulates that whoever attempts to misappropriate the fund on conviction will be liable to the same punishment as it is prescribed for the full offence in the Act.
It also stipulates that all monies received as penalty by the Pension Commission shall be paid into the Pension Protection Fund which would be 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 N10m will be imposed on any pension fund administratorwhich failed to meet the obligations of the contributors while each of the directors of the firm would pay N5m each as fines.
SAINT MUGAGA, ABUJA