The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has inducted the Director General (DG) of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, into the Association’s Hall of Fame in recognition of her professional service and purposeful leadership in the pension industry.
NANS also conferred on Mrs Dahir-Umar the NANS Merit Award for her contributions to national development and support for young people and students.
Speaking during the award ceremony held in Abuja at the weekend, the Senate President of NANS, Comrade Attah Felix Nnalue said NANS Merit Award is presented to individuals whose lives exemplifies the ideas of living for the sake of others and dedicate themselves to national building and service to humanity.
Comrade Nnalue said the induction of Mrs Dahir-Umar into NANS Hall of Fame and the presentation of NANS Merit Award to her were in line with the resolution of the 68th Senate Meeting of NANS held on 25 January 2023 at the University of Abuja.
He Commended the Director General for her hard work, exemplary lifestyle, contribution to nation building and the advancement of the pension industry.
Mrs Dahir-Umar has been part of the journey to reform pension administration and management in Nigeria. Under her leadership as the Director General, PenCom has attained significant milestones in its diligent implementation of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 through the successful conclusion of several critical initiatives.
Pension fund assets have been on a sustained growth trajectory, increasing from N6.15 trillion in 2016 to N14.99 trillion as of December 2022. Similarly, the number of registered pension contributors grew from 7.41 million to 9.86 million over the same period.
The launch of the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2019 was another significant step under her towards the promotion of financial inclusion for self-employed persons and workers in the informal sector. In November 2020, PenCom launched the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) Transfer System (RTS).
The system is an in-house developed computer Application that enables a pension contributor or retiree to switch from one Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to another. Activating the RSA transfer provision was another essential milestone she recorded in implementing the CPS that has been on the drawing board since the advent of the Pension Reform in 2004.
She also implemented the maiden Pension Enhancement for CPS retirees in December 2017. This initiative enhanced the monthly pensions of most retirees on the programmed withdrawal based on significant incomes earned from investment.
In 2021, the Director General oversaw the recapitalisation of PFAs. As a result, all PFAs raised their Shareholders’ Funds from N1 billion to N5 billion. In 2022, the Commission issued the Guidelines on Accessing RSA Balance Towards Payment of Equity Contribution for Residential Mortgage by RSA Holders. This innovative policy will enable workers to own residential houses while in active service.