December 22, 2009

NIGERIA: 'Life Begins At Retirement'

. LAGOS, Nigeria / ThisDay / Features / December 22, 2009 By Godwin Haruna They are referred to globally as senior citizens for obvious reasons. They gave their best in their productive years and appreciative societies the world over recognise retirees as senior citizens to be given preferential treatments in all spheres of life. In Nigeria, the pension reforms of the Obasanjo administration, which is being sustained by the Yar’Adua administration, has accorded the Nigeria’s senior citizens a pride of place. Last week, one of the firms, saddled with onerous responsibility of servicing this category of citizens, Aiico Pension Managers Limited, organized a forum to sensitise the senior citizens on how they can enjoy their retirement better. The firm is one of the pension managers, which the reform threw up. In his lecture to retirees and those about to retire at the forum, Mr. R. K. Tukuru counseled them to rediscover themselves early when they throw in the towel in the next phase of life. Tukuru, a retiree himself, said once that is done, 50 per cent of the individual’s problems are solved. He advised them not to spend lavishly adding that they should cultivate the habit of heading back to school to pursue knowledge that might be beneficial to them in retirement. He said that a meaningful retirement means complete emotional stability adding that it’s a period of assisted living. “You should not carry your baggage in the office into retirement”, Tukuru said. He further advised them to take charge of their lives and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Speaking earlier at the forum, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, chairman of the company and the forum, noted that the challenges experienced by retirees before the advent of the reform regarding late payment, mismanagement of pension funds, rigorous and painful processing have all become history. Gbadamosi said Aiico Pension Managers was licensed by the commission as one of the approved Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) in 2006. He added that the company was established by corporate organizations with track records in pension and fund management, which is the distinguishing factor that makes it stand out among peers. He said the company has paid to date N2 billion as retirement benefits while pensioners receive their benefits with ease and timely too. The chairman commended the National Pension Commission for its strict enforcement of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act, 2004; adding; “a noble idea like this can only be enduring if every stakeholder plays by the underlying rules, observance of good corporate governance and adherence to ethical standards.” Also speaking, Mr. Muktar K. Ahmad, director general, PENCOM, lauded the establishment of the Retirees’ Forum by Aiico. Ahmad said it was consistent with the regulatory philosophy of the commission, which is basically consultative nature to carry along stakeholders. “The retirement process has given rise to another new but very significant stakeholders under the new pension dispensation and these are the retirees and we are indeed happy that we are inaugurating the Aiico Forum today. The emergence of this category is clear manifestation that the PRA 2004, although barely five years old, has since become of age and started bearing fruits. The Commission would like to assure our retirees that they constitute a significant plank in the actualization of the PRA 2004 and I would like to enjoin all PFAs to follow the footsteps of Aiico.” He said Nigeria collectively chose PRA 2004 to address the lapses of the past and face the challenges of the future. He said the Act introduced for the first time in both the public and private sectors a contributory pension scheme that is fully funded and based on private individual account. He added that it also provides for life insurance cover for employees.[rc] © Copyright 2000-2009 Leaders & Company Limited