The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has assured that it is taking steps to avert a looming industrial action by the Corporation’s arm of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) over its pension scheme.
Already, the National Pension Commission has given a twelve-month widow for the Corporation to comply with the Pension Reform Act 2014 as amended.
PENCOM had earlier directed the Corporation to “immediately take all necessary steps to transit to the Contributory Pension Scheme under the PRA”.
In a fresh directive dated 15 September, 2014, PENCOM stated that “In order to accommodate your concerns, the Commission hereby grants the NNPC a transition period of 12 (12) months within which to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the PRA 2014”.
The Corporation appealed to the leadership of the industrial unions to exercise restraint while it embarks on extensive engagement with PENCOM to resolve the issues.
The NNPC noted that since the commencement of the scheme in 2006, the management and its staff have made a lot of sacrifice to maintain the existing Scheme and any premature cancellation of the Scheme may lead to avoidable labour disaffection across board.
While acknowledging the existence of some funding gaps in the scheme, the Corporation said that measures have since been put in place to steadily bridge the funding deficit which stood at N298 billion in 2010 and has now been provisionally reduced to N85 billion as at June, 2014.
It stated that NNPC is in the process of transferring additional real estate property valued at several billions of naira to the scheme which is currently before the NNPC board for approval.
It noted that NNPC Pension Fund Limited has complied with the provisions of the PRA 2014, by transferring assets in equities, bonds, Certificates of Deposits and other marketable securities to the custody of Pension Funds Administrators for management as directed by PENCOM since 2006.
“The NNPC Pension Fund has demonstrated its capacity to manage the Scheme successfully by managing pension assets of over N250 billion for over eight years and maintaining an excellent record of administering and paying over 9000 retirees as and when due,” the Corporation said.
The Management called on members of the public not to engage in panic buying assuring further that plans are on top gear to address the situation.