â€ŽI didnâ€™t accused PENCOM of diverting N3.5tn â€“ Oshiomhole
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State on Thursday denied accusing the National Pension Commission of diverting the sum N3.5tn pension fund.
Oshiomhole, who made this know in statement signed by him, said while PENCOM â€œhas nothing to do directly with pension money in the first place,â€ his position on the matter centred on how pension funds operators â€œinvested hard-earned workersâ€™ money in FGN Bonds and Treasury Bills,â€ which he said was grossly mismanaged through funding consumption.
â€ŽThe governor had on Tuesday reportedly alleged that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan spent N3.5tn pension fund on recurrent expenditure.
Oshiomhole said, â€œIn the said reports, the impression created was that I had accused PENCOM of colluding with the Federal Ministry of Finance to divert the said amount.
â€œConsidering the manner in which this serious economic issue that borders on the future of the Nigerian economy and the welfare of the Nigerian workers, who make contributions to the pension funds, is being misrepresented and trivialised in the media, I wish to make some clarifications and set the record straight.
â€œAs someone involved from the outset in the crafting of the PENCOM Act, I am very much aware that under the law, PENCOM is a regulator of the financial institutions and operators that deal directly with the management of the pension funds and pension assets, namely the Pension Funds Administrators and the Pension Funds Custodians.
â€œI could not have said, therefore, that PENCOM diverted pension money because it has nothing to do directly with pension money in the first place.â€
Oshiomhole recalled that when the pension reforms, which led to the creation of PENCOM, were being formulated, the selling point of the contributory pension scheme was that pension funds should be a source of cheap and long-term funds that would be used to support programmes and investments, enhance workers welfare, such as workersâ€™ housing and the creation of a robust mortgage system.
â€œHowever, what turned out in the management and operations of the pension funds was a completely different ball game.
â€œIt is open knowledge that the PFAs are among the major subscribers to Federal Government of Nigeria Bonds and Treasury Bills, which are instruments of FGNâ€™s domestic borrowing, issued periodically by the Debt Management Office and the Central Bank of Nigeria respectively, on behalf of the Federal Government,â€ he addedâ€Ž.
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