The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, has said that the Pension Fund is under threat from the government and employers of labour in the country.
He said that monies deducted from the salaries of workers were not being remitted to the beneficiaries’ accounts as provided for in the Pension Act.
Wabba, who made the comment at the ongoing 14th NLC’s Rain School with the theme ‘The Labour Movement and an Alternative Development Strategy’ in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, alleged that many employers of labour including the government had not remitted their contributions to the Pension Funds Administrators in the country since October, 2015.
He said that the NLC would resist the violation of the Pension Act as the money was being threatened by the non-remittance of the contributions of the workers and employers to the PFAs.
The NLC leader said that the workers’ union would devote its energy and resources to address the issue of the non- implementation of the Pension Act.
He said, “We must continue to resist that, and we must also participate because this is workers’ money. It is not free money and the law is very explicit. Where you deduct workers’ money, you also have to bring your counterpart funding, the employers’ deductions. It is the two that will go into your retirement savings account. It will be in the custody of the PFAs.
“This is how the law is structured, and therefore, I want to once again appreciate the pension commission for all the enforcement they are trying to put in place. But we are aware that a lot of employers are taking advantage of this system.
“We are going to also resist it because we are aware from October last year, many employers of labour including state governments have not remitted their contributions to our Pension Fund Administrators.
“And therefore the fund is currently being threatened, the scheme is threatened. If you don’t remit our contributions and that of employers, certainly, the scheme is threatened and therefore we will not allow a situation where we will go back to where we are coming from.
“As we take off from here, those issues must dominate our engagement, those issues must provide an avenue for us to engage the system.”
He lamented that a good number of the state governments were only interested in the implementation of the scheme to raise money contrary to the provision of the law.
Wabba said that since the states were not the custodians, they were bound by law to remit the deducted monies to the PFAs.
He claimed that even states that had not implemented the law were effecting deduction of pension money from the salaries of workers.
“In many states, they have also tried to implement the pension scheme. In most cases, they do that under the guise of trying to get more money. They are not supposed to be the custodians. When you deduct money, you remit it to the custodians. But in many states, they have not even implemented the law, they are going ahead to implement the deduction. So, for what purpose is that?” he added.
Also, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Mr. Bala Kaigama, said on the telephone on Wednesday that efforts were being made to confront employers to ascertain why employers were not remitting their contributions to the PFAs.