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Kaduna State Government Committed to Clearing Pension Liabilities

The Kaduna State Government has said it is resolute on seeking ways to meet liabilities relating to the outstanding pension benefits of its retirees. This was made known by the Executive Governor of the State, Malam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai at a meeting between the government and pension fund administrators (PFAs) held at Government House Kaduna on Thursday, 5th March 2020.

Representatives of PFAs at the meeting
Representatives of PFAs at the meeting

The PFAs proferred several ideas that would assist the government in raising the much needed funds which would held resolve the issue of outstanding payments, including the possibility of a sinking fund and floating a bond. The governor however said his government would like the PFAs to consider possibilities outside the suggestions made.

For retirees whose benefits have been processed pending their conclusion of the on-going data recapture across the federation, the PFAs said compliance on the part of the retiring staff has been painstakingly slow but progressive and that in collaboration with the Kaduna State Pension Bureau, sensitization had kicked-off in February 2020 to ensure that both active and retiring employees understand the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) better. The sensitization, it is believed, will go a long way in ensuring that processes of benefit administration are comprehended and easily complied with.

It will be recalled that the state government, in order to strengthen the CPS in Kaduna State reviewed the pension law in March 2016, establishing the Kaduna State Pension Bureau, presently led by Mrs. Esther Alibaba as its Acting Executive Secretary. This brought about a new pension regime effective January 2017 and the state has since been making concerted efforts to tackle all related issues. These efforts have severally met with many teething problems that would normally surface when any meaningful employer pursues reforms with the aim of finding ways to better the lot of its workforce.

Attendees at the meeting included the governor, his deputy, the head of service, chief of staff, secretary to the state government, the commissioner of finance, the permanent secretary (finance), Special adviser to the governor on Special duties, the acting executive secretary, Kaduna State Pension Bureau, and a host of others.

A cross-section of PFAs at the meeting
A cross-section of PFAs at the meeting

The PFAs, led by the Chairman of the Kaduna State PFA Forum, Mr. Sunday Iortyange, were all represented at the meeting. Top practitioners who also attended were the MD/CEO of Premium Pensions and other Management staff from Sigma Pensions, APT Pensions and Premium Pensions.

His Excellency, the Governor, with some representatives of PFAs
His Excellency, the Governor, with some representatives of PFAs

An adhoc committee, with proposed membership from the state government, PFAs and the national regulator, PenCom, has been proposed by His Excellency, the Governor, to deliberate on the ways forward and report back within four weeks.

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COVID-19: Basic Protective Measures

There have been varying experiences with different diseases and emergencies over time. Some of the health emergencies of the past have been dwarfed by more recent happenings including HIV, Ebola and Lassa. In the last week of December 2019, another health emergency threatened to bring the world to its knees – the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19)! With the confirmation of the first positive case in Nigeria on 27th February 2020, it has become necessary to lend voice to its prevention and re-echo the protective measures issued by WHO.

Protect yourself and others from getting sick

Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

Follow the guidance outlined above.
Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

When to use a mask
If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.

COVID-19: Guide on how to correctly wear the mask
Guide on how to correctly wear the mask

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask

Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks. To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

See the Novel Coronavirus Map

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ASUP, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, hosts Pension Sensitisation

Hungry for detailed and accurate knowledge about the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), the staff of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria under the auspices of its academic staff union, ASUP, beckoned on the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and the Kaduna State Pension Bureau from to help them understand better the rudiments of the Contributory Pension Scheme.

By way of response, a joint sensitisation event was held on Thursday, 27th February 2020 at the ICT Centre of the institution where representatives of PenCom, supported by the team from the Kaduna State Pension Bureau, did an excellent job, explaining in great detail, the CPS and the important indices relevant to the operations in Kaduna state, to the delight of all in attendance.

Pension Sensitisation at Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria
Members of ASUP, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic attending the sensitation programme

The invitation was extended to all PFAs operating in the state, through the platform of the Kaduna State PFA Forum. The role of the PFAs was to provide answers to PFA-specific questions and to provide support and after-sales services to their clients in the academic community.

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Pension Enhancement Scheme 2020

The Acting Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, has announced that the Commission has concluded an exercise to increase the monthly pension of retirees who opted for Programmed Withdrawal (PWD) due to the income earned on investing their pension assets.

She however said the exercise showed that 30 per cent of retiriees would not benefit from the increase due to insignificant income earned on the small balances in their respective RSAs.

The increase is calculated based on retirees RSA balances excluding voluntary contributions as at October 2019 and it will only affect retirees on PWD, who retired between July 2007 and December 2017.

The Commission has informed Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) affected retirees are to sign a pension enhancement consent form, and the exercise should commence next month and end in April 2020.

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PenCom Deploys the ECRS for fresh workers

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has designed, developed and deployed an Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS), an electronic platform for the submission of requests by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) for the registration of contributors and issuance of Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).

A press release issued by PenCom explained that the ECRS provides a more dynamic and friendly user Interface and fully addresses the issues identified with the previous CRS. The ECRS has also been integrated with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for authentication of the uniqueness of individuals seeking to register under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

The statement also indicated that the ECRS will greatly enhance the integrity of contributors’ data and also provide a platform for the following: i) Registration of Micro Pension Plan Participants and Cross Border individuals (i.e. participants living abroad and foreigners living in Nigeria wishing to participate in the CPS). ii) Electronic submission of employer code requests by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) or employers and the full automation of the process of issuing employer codes. iii) Updates and edits of contributors’ information on the National Databank maintained by the National Pension Commission by the PFAs.

PenCom also urged the Contributors are advised to visit their PFAs to provide their National Identification Number (NIN) and other information that may be required by the PFAs