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Contributory Pension: PENCOM Gives Six States Clean Bill

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Most states across the six geopolitical zones in the country are yet to fully implement the Federal Government’s Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), a report by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) has revealed.
According to the report made available to The Tide, yesterday, only six states and the FCT had fully implemented CPS with regular and up-to-date remittance of pension contributions, establishment of pension bureau and enactment of pension law.
The report, signed by PENCOM spokesman, Peter Aghohowa, said that the six states which had fully keyed into the CPS as at September 2019 were Kaduna, Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Delta.
In the North-Cenral Zone, only FCT had established pension bureau and was up-to-date with remittance of pension contributions, while Benue, Kogi and Nasarawa states which had enacted CPS laws had no pension bureaus in place.
Although Niger State established pension bureau, it suspended implementation of the CPS in April 2015 and had since stopped remitting pension contributions, while Kwara and Plateau were yet to enact CPS law.
Five states in the North-East zone, comprising Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba, were yet to commence remittance of pension contributions while Yobe was still operating Defined Benefits Scheme.
Also in North-East Zone, only Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba states had enacted CPS laws but none was yet to establish pension bureau.
In the North-West Zone, only Kaduna State had fully implemented CPS with regular and up-to-date remittance of pension contributions, establishment of pension bureau, registration of employees with PFAs and consistent funding of accrued rights with 5 per cent of total monthly bill.
Of all the North-West states, only Katsina neither enacted CPS law nor established pension bureau, while Jigawa and Kebbi which had pension bureaus, were only remitting portions of the pension contributions.
Kano without a pension board was deducting pension contributions under the management of the board of trustees and yet to transfer the pension asset to a licensed pension operator.
In the South-East Zone, PENCOM reports that except for Anambra State which was fully complying with the implementation of the CPS scheme, others such as Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states had not keyed into the scheme.
The Commission said that in the South-West zone, Ekiti and Ondo states were remitting pension contributions, while Ogun and Osun states had huge backlogs. Lagos State did not provide information on its remittance, while Oyo State was yet to commence remittance of pension contributions.
According to PENCOM, all the South West States have, however, enacted CPS laws and established pensions bureaus.
In the South-South, Edo and Delta were up-to-date in their pension contributions, while Rivers and Bayelsa states were lagging behind in remittance of pension contributions.
In Rivers, contributions made under the repealed law were being refunded to exempted employees, while Akwa Ibom and Cross River did not even have a CPS law in place, PENCOM said.
The PENCOM spokesman, however, said that the commission did not release the report to undermine or embarrass any state but to intimate employees on the status of their states in terms of their pension contributions.
“With the information provided, workers can hold their states to do the needful in terms of paying their pension up-to-date to guarantee and protect their retirement,” he said.
According to him, the commission will continue to dialogue with the states to do the needful, as the law that established PENCOM does not empowers it to enforce the implementation on the states.

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Lawmakers Vow To Resolve Rivers Port, BUA Terminal Crisis

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Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbours, Hon. Datti Garaba Muhammad, says the committee will intervene in the lingering court case between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex and the BUA terminal operators.
The chairman said the committee’s intervention would save the situation and improve business activities in the complex.
Hon. Muhammad spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt while on an oversight function to the NPA, Rivers Port Complex, last Tuesday.
Accompanied by other members, Muhammad said:“We are here to hear the challenges, we want them to furnish us with details of the agreement, we want to see the concession agreement between NPA and BUA terminal”.
He said the committee was ready to bring peace between both parties so as to improve on the revenue accrued to the government.
Muhammad disclosed that both parties had approached the Federal High Court and Court of Arbitration in London over the issue.
He said as a committee, it is their responsibility to oversee both the NPA and the terminal operators doing business in the port complex.
Speaking earlier, the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Engr. Yunusa Ibrahim Anji, had told the committee that NPA had decommissioned berth 8, which collapsed some months ago.
Berth 8 is being operated by BUA terminal operators.
The manager appealed  to the committee to intervene in the lingering issue as it is affecting its revenue.
He said the collapse of the berth and the legal tussle between NPA and the operator were greatly affecting maritime activities in the port.
The manager said Rivers Port Complex is one  of the ports with the highest numbers of private jetties, explaining that the port has over 36 private jetties across the state.

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AfCFTA: MAN Urges Stakeholders To Address Vital Issues

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on stakeholders of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to address vital issues during negotiations to ensure that the overall goal is achieved by the continent.
MAN President, Mr Mansur Ahmed made the call yesterday at the opening ceremony of a two-day African Continental Free Trade Area National Forum, in Lagos.
The event is themed, “Effective Implementation for Industrialisation and Inclusive Economic Development in Nigeria.’
Ahmed said the key issues included technical and political challenges that must be resolved.
According to him, it is important that Nigeria benefits and ensures  she meets the targeted seven per cent economic growth rate expected to take about 100 million people out of poverty.
“President Buhari is committed to lifting 100 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years; how can we ensure that the AfCFTA leads us towards that journey?,” he said.
Ahmed said the critical dimensions that must be addressed during conversations concerning the AfCFTA should include policies and regulations, rules and conduct of the players.
“The way we merge the processes, the agreements, regulations, institutions and how these work together to ensure that the game is being played in accordance with the rules and expectations.
“The issues need to be defined in a way that we see the complexities; technical and political, to ensure clarity.
“All these must be formulated in a way that all stakeholders understand their roles and obligations and therefore play according to the rules,’’the MAN president said.
Ahmed said that all negotiators were not of the same capacity and inclination, which would require harmonisation on a regional level to resolve issues such as market offer and collaboration.
He urged stakeholders to view the negotiations with a sense of collaboration and not allow any player deemed as too powerful to dominate.
“We must look at the interest of the group as a whole and the interest of the region, and what provides the best long term and sustainable interest of the region.
“There must be a strong commitment by our governments, various institutions and private sector groups to look beyond the norms and look at the goal for the region and continent,’’he said.

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Oil Firm Commissions Projects In Host Communities

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An indigenous oil company operating Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 in Rivers State, Eroton Exploration and Production Company Limited, has put smiles on the faces of its host communities with projects estimated at hundreds of millions of Naira.
Projects commissioned recently in Minama, Ifoko, Sangama, Ido and Abonnema towns, include ultra-modern town halls, civic centres and an integrated agro-farm industry that have mopped up hundreds of youths from the unemployment market in the area.
Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr. Felix Odungweru, who was the Special Guest of Honour commended the communities for the peaceful disposition and cooperation during the execution of the projects and assured that the Government of Chief Nyesom Wike would ensure that multi-national companies operating in the state develop their host communities.
Speaking to newsmen at Sangama in Asari Toru Local Government Area – shortly after commissioning the ultra-modern civic centre, the Cluster Development Board Chairman, Deacon Chrstian Sekibo, thanked the communities for nominating upright members of their communities to the membership of the board who had worked relentlessly to ensure the success of the various projects commissioned.
He promised to provide toilets for Minama Community in Asari-Toru LGA, in response to the people’s demand for toilets in the community.
Deacon Sekibo debunked the insinuation that youth restiveness prevents multi-national companies from developing their host communities, pointing out that the board received the best of cooperation from the communities youth.
“We received the best cooperation from youth of these communities. Their cooperation is an indication these youth in our communities were hungry for development. We could see it in their eyes, actions and attitudes,” he said.
Also speaking to newsmen at Ifoko Town in Asari-Toru LGA, after the commissioning of an ultra-modern town hall, consultant to the board, Dr Godwin MInimah of Godifems Consults Limited, said the interest of the host communities was paramount to Eroton E & P.
The second day of the programme witnessed the commissioning of the integrated agro-farm in Ido Community in Asari-Toru LGA with offices and staff quarters for essential staff.
In his welcome address, Deacon Sekibo said, “upon payment of the 2015/2016 project funds by the joint ventures partners- NNPC/Eroton E&P, the DAA3 board agreed to invest it in an income yielding project and accordingly settled for an agro business. Hence, the integrated agro farm project.
“The farm has poultry with an installed capacity for 15,000 birds; fishery with capacity for 20,000 catfish fingerlings; snailery with capacity for 8,000 snails and piggery with capacity for 144 piglets and pigs.”
Commissioning of the Ido Integrated Agro Farm and the Abonnema civic centre were withnessed by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr Felix Odungweru, representatives of Eroton company, community chiefs and elders, among others.

 

By: Donatus Ebi

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