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Pensioners reject Government’s plan to borrow from pension fund

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The Nigeria Union of Pensioners has rejected government’s plan to borrow from the pension fund, saying that the government has no rights to tamper with the money.

Early in the year, the NEC had expressed its intention to borrow N2tn from the growing funds under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

On Friday, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum endorsed two proposals to borrow a total of N17tn from two sources for infrastructural development.

The governors took the decision after receiving a briefing from the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who is the Chairman of the National Economic Council Ad Hoc Committee on Leveraging Portion of Accumulated Pension Funds for Investment in the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.

El-Rufai briefed the forum on a proposed National Infrastructure Investment Fund, saying a total sum of N2tn at nine per cent interest could be accessed through the NSIA.

This was contained in a communiqué of the 22nd teleconference meeting of the NGF, signed by its Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi and released to journalists in Abuja on Friday.

According to the communiqué, Fayemi noted that the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, had a similar proposal to access N15tn for national infrastructure funding through InfraCredit at a lower interest rate of five per cent.

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, through its Head of Information, Mr Bunmi Ogunkolade, however, said “the governors have no authority over the money, it doesn’t belong to them; so, how can they approve a proposal to borrow part of the workers’ pensions, which many of them (governors) are not contributing to?

“Do you know that many of the states are not paying the contributory pension? It shows that they don’t believe in it, so why should they borrow from it? It is not in their power to determine what would happen to that money. No! Their forum is not even recognised by law.”

Ogunkolade said the NUP had previously cautioned the Federal Government against tinkering with the fund, adding that there would be no one to be held responsible if they failed to repay the loan.

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