NNPC moves to avert workers strike over pension scheme

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Monday said it had taken necessary measures to avert the proposed strike by oil workers over unresolved pension issues.

This is contained in a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Manager, Ohi Alegbe, in Abuja on Monday.

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, had threatened to go on strike.

It stated that the National Pension Commission, PENCOM, had given a 12-month widow for the corporation to comply with the Pension Reform Act 2014 as amended.

It explained that PENCOM had earlier directed the corporation to “immediately take all necessary steps to transit to the Contributory Pension Scheme under the PRA”.

It stated that PENCOM in a fresh directive dated Sept. 15 granted the NNPC a transition period of 12 months within which to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the PRA 2014.

It, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the industrial unions to exercise restraint while it embarks on extensive engagement with PENCOM to resolve the issues.

It stated that since the commencement of the scheme in 2006, the management and its staff had made a lot of sacrifice to maintain the existing scheme.

It stated that any premature cancellation of the scheme might lead to avoidable labour disaffection across board.

The statement acknowledged the existence of some funding gaps in the scheme.

It informed stakeholders that measures had since been put in place to steadily bridge the funding deficit which stood at N298 billion in 2010 and had now been provisionally reduced to N85 billion as at June, 2014.

According to the statement, the 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.

“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.”

It stated that it had also maintained an excellent record of administering and paying over 9000 retirees as and when due.

The management called on members of the public not to engage in panic buying, assuring further that plans were on top gear to address the situation. (NAN)

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