The acting Director-General, National Pension Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar has dispelled claims that the non-composition of a board for the commission was affecting the management of the fund.
Dahir-Umar who refuted the claim during a submission made at a hearing organised by an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives set up to investigate the activities of PenCom, also stated that the Pension Fund Assets are safe and secure.
While addressing the situation, Dahir-Umar assured the public that the Pension Fund Assets which stood at about N8.63 trillion as of December last year was not under any form of threat as being widely speculated.
Adding that the commission had a robust framework to ensure that the fund was not tampered with in a manner that would affect its sustainability.
“We have studied the house resolution and we discovered that the following allegations are levelled against the commission.
“Our submission is that the allegations are all false, unfounded. The facts on ground do not in any way indicate any case of contravention of the Pension Reform Act 2014 by the commission.
“We strongly believe the House does not have the right information and we believe that given the right information, the House will disregard the allegations before it.”
Impasse in appointments
Aisha Dahir-Umar responded to the impasse in appointments claim by quoting Section 19(3) of the PRA 2014, stating that only the President had the power to appoint the Chairman, Director-General and the four commissioners for the PenCom board which was subject to confirmation by the Senate.
She said no individual in the commission could influence appointment, stating all other members of the board were institutional representatives.
“The career members of staff in the commission have no say or influence on the decisions taken by the President or the legislature towards this matter.
“We are, therefore, at a loss to how we have been accused of creating this impasse. It is, therefore, incorrect to allege that the current transitional management is stalling the resumption of the board of the Commission. If anything, we can’t wait for their arrival.”
Illegally increase of directorates
Aisha Dahir-Umar disclosed that the current organogram of the Commission was approved by the board at its 46th meeting held on June 12, 2015, with a structure of five Divisions and 20 Departments. She made this comment while reacting to the illegal increase of directorates.
“Consequently, it is incorrect to state that additional directorates have been created by the Commission during the current transitional period.
“Furthermore, the Commission has not recruited any additional director since the beginning of the transitional period in April 2017 to date.
“What happened was a normal and duly approved promotion exercise for career members of staff of the Commission, where three Deputy General Managers were promoted to the grade of General Managers after duly satisfying the established criteria in accordance with the terms and conditions of their employment.”
However, in the absence of a functional board of the Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar disclosed that the Report of the Annual Staff Performance Appraisal exercise, containing recommendations for promotion to General Manager and other grades, was approved by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on April 18, 2018.
This, she noted, was consistent with the provision of Section 17(5) of the PRA 2014 and Section 9 of the First Schedule to the PRA 2014, as well as the President’s directive of July 16, 2015 to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies whose boards were dissolved that issues requiring approval of boards should be sent to him for decision through the respective supervising ministries.