The National Pension Commission has said it will protect the confidential information of contributors and retirees under the Contributory Pension Account.
The commission stated this in reaction to the latest move by the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee, which recently summoned the commission and asked it to provide vital and sensitive information of the operations of the CPS.
PenCom in its reaction to the Ad-hoc Committee in a letter dated 23rd January, 2019, titled, “Request for information – Request for clarifications” stated that the commission had noted the Ad-hoc Committee requested for documents/information in respect of the request listed in the letter under reference.
PenCom said it would like to clarity some facts to the Ad-hoc Committee.
The commission, while explaining its stand on the details of supervisions and regulations of Pension Fund Administrators and their key instructions and performances, compliances and default, it stated, “We are unable to decipher the Ad-hoc Committee’s specific request on the subject because these are general statements on the statutory functions of the commission. We, therefore, request for further clarifications on the specific requirements of the committee.”
While explaining the annual pension operations of all the PFAs on the details of amount collected from contributors and amount being paid out to retirees from April 2017 till date, it stated, “This information is confidential to RSA holders under the CPS accordingly. Members of the board, officers, employees and agents or other persons engaged by the commission are prohibited by the provisions of Section 113(3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 from disclosing such information.”
The commission, while explaining the details of the Federal Government’s contributions to the Federal Government bonds, stated, “The commission requests for clarification on whether reference is being made to amount disbursed by the Federal Government for payment of accrued pension rights or bonds issued by the Debt Management Office, which pension funds invest into from time to time.”
On the contributions of RSA holders to the PFAs, it stated that “The commission is also unable to provide the information based on it because it will constitute a breach of the provisions of Section 113(3) of the PRA 2014.”
While explaining the details of payment from PenCom into the Treasury Single Accounts and bank accounts details operated by the commission, it stated that the “commission had explained in its earlier correspondence to the committee that it maintains a TSA account in the Central Bank of Nigeria in line with the Federal Government’s policy on same. Accordingly, the commission would like to request for further clarifications on this request of the Ad-hoc Committee.”
The commission explained it stood on the details of the amount sent in by the MDAs to PenCom through the TSAs between April 2017 till date, before it was distributed to the PFAs through their Pension Custodians by the CBN.
It stated, “The commission requests for clarification on this in view of the fact that pension contributions for employees of Treasury Funded MDAs are deducted at source by the Accountant-General of the Federation and remitted directly to the Retirement Savings Accounts of FGN employees on IPPIS platform. The contributions of employees of MDAs not on IPPIS are remitted to the contributory pension account maintained with the CBN for onward transfer to their RSAs.”
On the invitation to an investigative hearing by the committee, the commission requested that the investigative hearing be deterred until the issue of the documents and information necessary to the hearing were sorted out.
PenCom stated, “Recall that the commission had, vide a letter referenced PenCom/DG/CSLD12019/ of January 23, 2019, subsequently sought further necessary clarifications in respect of most items listed in your letter of request under reference. We believe that the further clarifications are necessary to enable the commission furnish the required information to facilitate the committee’s work.
“In the light of the foregoing and in order to facilitate the committee’s work in a meaningful and productive manner, the commission requests that the investigative hearing be deterred until the issue of the documents/information necessary to the hearing are sorted out. In the meantime, the commission is collating the information on those requests that are clear, and which would take a while in view of the volume of information required by the committee. This further necessitates the need to fix a future date for the hearing in order to have a productive session.”
The pension industry had recorded steady growth since the establishment of the CPS by the Pension Reform Act 2004, but operators are concerned that they were currently being queried by the House of Representatives.
The Ad-hoc Committee is asking for vital information of RSA holders, retirees and PFAs, which stakeholders have considered confidential under the PRA 2004 as repealed by PRA 2014.
The commission had, however, informed the Ad-hoc committee that it would be unable to do so, explaining that it was Prohibited by the provisions of some sections of the PRA 2014 from disclosing such information.