The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, has directed for the reconciliation of the investment accounts of the Nigeria University Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO) within the next one week, in order to resolve outstanding issues pending with the new pension fund Company.
He gave the charge last Friday when he received a delegation from NUPEMCO, which came for a consultative meeting involving him and the Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Is-haq Oloyede.
While congratulating the management for securing the licence especially for the courage displayed by the stakeholders in getting it underway, he stated that NUC was the Chief promoter of the company.
He cautioned the Management to work very hard as NUPEMCO was championed by Marxist, who were critical and would really want to see growth in their capital.
“You have an enormous task before you to justify the confidence the Nigerian University System (NUS) had reposed in you.”
The Executive Secretary stated that there were possibilities that NUC would willingly migrate to the new pension platform, while JAMB had also expressed its willingness to be listed.
According to him, NUC had put together a seed fund of N50million in NUPEMCO, noting that depending on the investment drive of the Company, the Commission, through its Consultancy Services Ltd, would be willing to invest more.
He said that NUC would initiate a meeting with the vice-chancellors, especially of those universities that had already invested funds to apprise them of developments and to ensure their effective participation as stakeholders, while others would be sensitised at the appropriate time to invest in the company in order to grow it. He recalled that the laws provided that universities could only run their investment funds through a registered consultancy services.
The NUC scribe further said that the Commission was currently updating the records of the number of teaching and non-teaching staff enrolled in the system, which by 31st December, 2017, stood at 125,000.
He said that there was a projection that the number would rise to about 180,000 by the end of the year 2018 survey.
He explained that about 20 universities out of 62 mobilised universities were already contributors to a Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
In his remarks, the JAMB Registrar applauded the Executive Secretary NUC for his assistance and recalled that the vision of NUPEMCO was actualised through their shared vision when he was Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC) of Nigerian Universities.
Professor Oloyede said that JAMB was fully ready to join the Company. This, he said, would be in two-folds where staff would be encouraged to make their contributions on one hand on demand, while the other will be an investment profiling through a shareholding structure.
According to him, the examination Board would contribute to a buffer fund, that NUPEMCO would keep as a back-up investment such that when staff retired, they could easily commence immediate access to their pensions to take care of the time-lag it takes the Federal Government to pay retirees the first tranche of their pensions.
He tasked the University Pension Company to provide a guarantee of this so that its staff would realise that it was the best way to go.
Earlier, in his speech, the Managing Director, Mr. Stanis U. Ezeobi said that the Company intended to offer a unique value proposition to its investors and use same to secure the funds, a vital asset of its stakeholders.
While acknowledging the role of Professor Rasheed in getting the licence, especially during those difficult moments he also commended Professor Oloyede for his great strides both at Unilorin and at his present place of assignment.
He called for close working relationship with the NUC Directorate of Finance and Accounts for the purpose of reconciliation of some accounting issues of NUPEMCO still pending, to help the Board commence on a sound footing.
On JAMB’s request for a gratuity fund, he noted that the buffer investment funds would be a possibility.
He however said that to have a stake the Board would discuss it which would also mean an expansion of the present structure of the Board. In his words, “we may not reject it, because it will encourage us to expand our asset-base.” This he said would be managed separately as proposed by JAMB and would qualify it as a stakeholder, aside from the regular pension funds transfer of its staff.
He said that apart from the Nigeria Police Force Pension Funds, NUPEMCO remained the only other Pension Managers due to its peculiar nature, to be owned by workers.
Mr. Ezeobi disclosed that University Fund Company was restricted to public universities alone for now, but said that by collective discussions it could be expanded to accommodate private universities.
He added that about 62 universities were running a contributory pension scheme, while the polytechnics were also meant to come on board too.
In his contribution, the Deputy Executive Secretary, NUC, Barr Victor Onuoha remarked that the fears of Nigerians over their inability to access their pensions were genuine and expressed the desire of all willing players in NUMPECO to get a better deal in respect to their investment.
He noted that the buffer fund was a welcome development and called for more guarantees of prompt payment to staff on retirement, which was difficult presently for other PFAs.
The meeting agreed that all the labour unions in the NUS should be brought on board through wider consultations. There was also a resolution on the need to review the membership and composition of NUPEMCO’s present six-man Board.
At the meeting were NUPEMCO’s Chief Technical Officer in charge of ICT infrastructure, Mr. Aliyu Atiku; Chief Compliant Officer, Ijeoma Mfon-Udoh and Chief Finance Officer, Mr. Stanley Igbinedion.