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“I’m Pleasantly Surprised at the Growth of the Contributory Pension Scheme”. – Obasanjo

An historical outlook at the conception of the Contributory Pension Scheme in Nigeria

The former President Olusegun Obasanjo stated that he was pleasantly surprised at the growth of the pension assets over the last 20 years. He said when he instituted the pension reforms, and when they pushed to have a bill to reform the way pensions were done in Nigeria, they did not think that the assets will grow this quickly and have the effect it has had. He stated this in a recent interview with the Chief Executive of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Oguche Agudah in Abeokuta.

Going down memory lane, President Obasanjo said that the reason for the reform was that his paying had seen so many pensioners queuing up in his first tenure of office, especially military men and he resolved to see how they can make pension management and administration private sector driven and more in line with global best practices.

When asked about why he chose this system for Nigeria, He said “it’s simple, we just see what other countries are doing and if it’s good for us we copy it and adapt. There is no harm in copying if we see what other countries are doing and it’s good for them, we adapt”. In addition, he said what the industry needs to do now is to see how the pension assets that have been accumulated over the years can help more in national development, especially infrastructure in a safe and sustainable manner.

President Obasanjo was speaking as part of the celebration of 20 years of pension reforms in Nigeria. Year 2024 marks20 years since the initial pension reform act was signed. Recall that there was a committee headed by Fola Adeola who worked on pension reforms in Nigeria that cumulated in the drafting and enactment of the pension reform act which essentially professionalized pensions management in Nigeria, moved to the private sector and helped to win the government from unsustainable pension liabilities.