Lagos organises workshop on Contributory Pension Scheme

By Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

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The Lagos State government has organised a training workshop for its staff on how to plan ahead for their retirement age and expose them to the State reformed Contributory Pension Scheme.

The State says the need became imperative so as to create a soft landing platform for those who would soon exit the service and expose others with more years ahead on the intricacies of Public Service Pension Reforms.

The State Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Dr. Akintola Benson-Oke gave this indication at a training workshop organised in Lagos.

Planning for retirement

In his paper presentation on “Planning for retirement: Pension reforms in the Lagos State Public Service”, Dr Benson-Oke said that the effort was to reach out to the retirees of the Lagos State public service and to explore the reservoir of knowledge and wisdom of experienced facilitators on how to cope with the peculiar challenges of retirement.

He explained that over the years, the State has achieved tremendously in the area of strengthening its policies on welfare of retirees and pensioners with the establishment of the Lagos State Pension Commission LASPEC and this has led to seamless transition of retirees.

“Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration is proud to state that its diligent pursuit of the State pension scheme models has yielded fruits such that the pension obligations of the State are now managed to the satisfaction of the officers of the public service.

”Furthermore, this administration has also ensured that the vision of Lagos State Pension Commission LASPEC, to provide first class regulatory and supervisory services on pension matters to all stakeholders in the Lagos State Public Service is within reach while the mission to provide exceptional services on pension matters to employees in the Lagos State Public Service is faithfully fulfilled, year-on-year” he said.

Increased Contributory rate

Dr Benson-Oke said that the Lagos State Government has signed into law the amendment of the Lagos State Pension Reform Law which among others, increased the contribution rate under the Contributory Pension Scheme to 18%.

According to him, “The State government’s contributions have now increased to 10% from 7.5% while the employees’ contribution is 8% from 7.5%.”

The Commissioner, who assured the retirees of the State of a better life after service with adequate arrangement made by the government, enjoined them to envision a productive future after service.

He said: “While many employers of labour and indeed many state governments do not see the need to prepare their employees for a new life, the Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration however, is a people-oriented one and we have resolved that everyone who has worked diligently for the State has to be recognised, paid his or her dues and assisted to prepare for future challenges.”

He stressed that the training would highlight the intricacies of Contributory Pension scheme, expose then to understand the Lagos State Pension reforms law, Health management in retirement, retirement planning-Achieving financial independence in old age, among others.

Window of opportunity

One of the resource persons at the training, Prof. Pat Utomi explained that there are lots of window of opportunities in the Lagos Contributory Pension Reforms Scheme.

Prof Utomi who emphasised on the efficiency in the management of the Pension system in Nigeria, said that the involvement of both government and employees in the Contributory scheme will make the process workable.

“It is important to focus on the fact that what we have now is the Contributory Pension Scheme, fully-funded, compare to the ‘Pay-as- you-go’ scheme that we have before, the entitlement scheme in which you enter primarily by being a part of the service which is based on the numbers of years you serve.’’

Speaking on the increase in the contribution rate of the Lagos state pension scheme, Utomi said that it means a bigger pool coming for each of the beneficiaries.

Significant of scheme

“What is even significant of the scheme is the idea of the Retirement Savings Account RSA which is your personal account. As the scheme get more sophisticated, people will be able to borrow from that account to prepare things to make retirement easier while they are still in service”.

He noted that mortgage arrangement on the housing fund can also tie up to the scheme so that any retiree can borrow from his or her RSA to provide support for mortgage that can allow to build a house before going into retirement.

Value added

In her remarks, the Permanent secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Rhoda Ayinde enjoined participants to make use of the opportunity of the workshop to prepare a path towards a better life.

According to her “Value is living and when you add value to yourself, life gives you better in return, because the information that you’re going to get today at this training, would transform you and will make your future very vibrant.

So, for you to have a better life after this program, you have to act on whatever you get from this training.”

Some of the participants lauded the initiative of the government for furnishing them with vital information, especially that which has to do with their welfare after exiting the Public Service.