The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, has said that with NUC’s investment of Fifty Million Naira in the Nigeria University Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), it was an important shareholder in the pension body.

In his address at the maiden consultative meeting of NUPEMCO Shareholders and Stakeholders, held last Wednesday, at the NUC conference room, Professor Rasheed expressed delight that the universities were responding to the call for investment and ownership of NUPEMCO.

While lamenting that the numbers were still low, the Executive Secretary acknowledged that when others see the seriousness of NUPEMCO, as a viable Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) they would have no choice but to join.

He said NUC had invested an initial sum of fifty million naira and shall invest more capital at some other opportuned time, emphasising however, that the Commission would demand for transparency, probity and accountability for the sake of the shareholders.

He disclosed that the Commission had been advising the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB); Polytechnics and other related bodies to become shareholders in NUPEMCO.

He observed that if NUPEMCO became well-managed and coordinated, success was already awaiting the pension company as it would likely  inherit over 200,000 staff presently in the academia, consisting of both, academic and non-academic staff.  “With this structure in place, NUPEMCO would surely grow and make more money.”

NUPEMCO, the Executive Secretary stressed, remained the property of all the stakeholders, reiterating that NUC would make sure that the entire universities in Nigeria invest in it.

He also expressed his satisfaction that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was the principal partner, being the owners of the majority shareholding.

While advocating for transparency in the company, Professor Rasheed reiterated that every shareholder must be given a fair knowledge of the amount they have invested so far.

The NUC scribe advised NUPEMCO not to expand unnecessarily with too many branches and offices, but to keep things as simple as possible for efficiency purposes.

He said consent form should be given to people or institutions to complete without forcing it on them and that NUPEMCO should ensure that retirees start receiving their pension immediately after retirement.

In the present Federal Government’s pension structure, he stated that many pensioners die awaiting their payment due to the cumbersome process, saying that such prompt payment would make NUPEMCO more attracting to the stakeholders.

Professor Rasheed thanked the Universities’ Vice Chancellors present and those who sent their representatives, advocating also that the shareholders and stakeholders meeting be held twice a year, where the investors could have opportunity to brainstorm.

He commended the National Association of Academic Technologies (NAAT), whom, he recognised, as closest to the academics as well as ASUU, Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the management of NUPEMCO, for the success of the meeting.

He urged NUPEMCO to put in a functional system that would work and told the management not to be discouraged as he believed that the body had come to stay and outlive the founders.

Chairman of NUPEMCO Board, Dr. Oladipo Fasina said that the pension company had to overcome a lot of challenges and difficulties, including recognition by the universities over a long period before its eventual registration. One of such was the tasks of convincing the Universities’ Vice Chancellors that NUPEMCO was here to stay.

It was also a huge task on the path of the VC’s to convince their staff of the advantages and potentials as well as inherent benefits derivable from joining the pension company.

The Acting Managing Director of NUPEMCO, Mrs. Oluwakemi, said that the reason for the meeting was to enlighten the shareholders and stakeholders on what they stand to gain, by being members of NUPEMCO. She listed some of these advantages to include: creating an improved work environment; participating shareholders being part of the decision making body; NUPEMCO members being shareholders and enjoying after retirement their benefits.

She assured shareholders that activities of NUPEMCO shall remain transparent, while excellence and dedication will be its watchword. She, however, noted that the pension body had proposed to have offices in; Awka, Lagos, Ibadan, Gombe, Port-Harcourt and Kano, for ease of its business.

In her words “We want to be the PFA of choice, the PFA to associate with”. Reacting to the Executive Secretary’s request, the management of NUPEMCO listed the names of Institutions and the amount they had invested so far. These include: University of Ilorin, N25million; University of Nigeria Nsukka, N20million; Ebonyi State University, N15million; University of Jos, N10million; University of Ibadan, N10million; University of Abuja, N10million; Bayero University Kano, N10million; National Open University of Nigeria, N10million; Obafemi Awolowo University, N10million and University of Uyo, N10million.

Others are NUC, N50million; ASUU, N474million; TETFund, N200million; NASU, N40million; Ahmadu Bello University, N10miilion; Benue State University, N10million; Michael Opara University of Agriculture, N10million and Federal University of Technology Akure, N10million.

Present at the meeting were the Deputy Executive Secretary (DES), Barr. Victor Onuoha; Directors of Executive Secretary’s Office (DESO), Mr. Christopher Maiyaki; Inspection and Monitoring (DIM), Mr. Boniface Odum, some Vice Chancellors and  other stakeholders.