Not satisfied with the emerging numbers of subscribers to the micro pension plan MPP, the regulator, National Pension Commission and the Pension Operators of Nigeria PenOp, returned to the drawing board to critique the plan that was with fanfare assigned the pension growth turning point but fell below projections to the dismay of PenCom and PenOp.
It was clear to the Joint Committee of PenCom/PenOp that they cannot afford to fail after several years of careful study and eventual launch of the MPP by President Mohammadu Buhari in 2020. They resolved that they must be dedicated to make the plan work and all possible requirements are being explored and fitted to the plan that will be ready to earn subscribers acceptance
Early in the month of December 2021, PenOp unveiled ongoing discussions within the pension industry and the insurance industry to establish solutions to the plan and the strong take home from the media briefing was that micro pension was set to venture into areas not sighted before the launch that could be the link to the required rejuvenation.
According to coordinated multi-stakeholders, they are fundamental in a new approach to avoid another negative playback that is attached to micro pension, this avoidance approach is what underlines why all hands are on deck exploring new add-ons to attract subscribers in large numbers that was initially expected.
Officials of both PenCom and PenOp committed to put behind them the predominantly pessimistic result, unveiled details so far undertaken to hedge the low numbers that were at variance with the projections, well off the mark stated in the concluded micro pension study.
As a follow up on the line up to make it work again, we sought answers to several questions from a strong force in the joint venture of the operator regulator team. She is Mrs. Idu Okwuosa, the managing director at Access Pension Fund Custodian. The interview:
What were the propellers for the add-ons (life policies etc)?
We realised the need for incentives to grow the micro pension scheme. We are currently engaging insurance companies to provide micro insurance products for subscribers to the scheme.
It took several years of work before the MPP was launched and it still fell off the mark in term of contributors sign in, what’s the guarantee that what has been done so far to revamp MPP will make a difference?
A lot of research went into the micro pension scheme. As you correctly noted, it fell off mark based on projections. We have recently critiqued the MPP and noted shortcomings and working to remedy them. We have listened to the complaints and working on solutions. We are engaging differently and the industry is ready to go on a nation wide massive sensitisation. We are hopeful that we will get it right this time. The Joint Committee of PenCom/PenOp are dedicated to making this work.
The growth of pension contributions is organic, as can be seen in the normal CPS. It took several years to get to where it is today.
If the momentum is maintained the desired objective of having contributory members will be achieved.
How is it going to work, who pays the premium, because no premium no cover?
Premiums will be borne wholly by PFAs or in fractions between the PFA and subscribers.
Before the rollout of the new face of MPP, has there been a pilot phase to test its acceptability?
There was no pilot test, which could have contributed to the inability to grow the scheme.