Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) has launched the Electronic Pension Contribution Collection System (EPCCOS), which will henceforth enable employers remit their employees’ contributions online.
The Chairman Sub-committee on EPCCOS and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA Pension Fund Custodian, Bayo Yusuf, at the official launch of the new system in Lagos, said the platform will help improve compliance and enhance confidence in pension collection and remittance. “For us it would improve compliance, because employers before now said one of their complaints has been dealing with 21 pension fund administrators and four pension fund custodians. With this single platform, employers can now do everything from the comfort of their offices without going anywhere,” he said.
According to him, the system is a value addition for the industry adding, “we have created value for the employer to make compliant easier. So, employers can now do remittance, upload schedule and make payment with ease, and the ultimate beneficiary is the employee.
He said with the new system, the account of the employee is to be credited within 24 hours In line with the Pension Act.
He explained that with this platform, when the employer remits the
contributions, the employee gets the alert and within 24 hours the account is credited and alert sent to the employee. “For me that is a plus and it will enhance confidence in the system,” the UBA pension boss stated.
On his part, PenOp’s Executive Secretary, Susan Oranye, noted that the system has stemmed the major challenge affecting the contributory pension scheme, which is compliance.
She said the platform would enable employers process employees salaries, taxes and pension seamlessly. “For quite awhile, PenOp has been working very closely with the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to structure a platform that would make compliance for employers that have embraced the CPS easier. One of the key challenges facing the CPS is compliance, we have cases where employers feel it is unnecessary expense to register their employees on the CPS even though the law requires them to, if they have three or more employees, there are some who remit their contributions in a half hazard way,” she said.
She added that they will remit the funds, but would fail to remit the required schedules or they would do it in such a way that the information will be wrong, the fund would not be credited to the employees’ RSA and there would be a slow build up of unreconciled funds laying with PFCs. Meanwhile, the employees would not know that the amounts have not entered their accounts.
“There is also the issue of filing forms manually and taking them to the PFAs. All these things serve to deter employers and make them unhappy with the process, and this has been one of the key challenges of the CPS.”
She said the operators having examined the challenges encountered by the employers in remitting their employees’ contributions, decided to tackle it with the electronic platform.
“Now PenOp has taken into cognizance the challenges and issues that employers are facing and we said if there are other platforms where funds can be remitted with their payment schedules to difference banks on behalf of different beneficiaries, and it has worked in the country, why can’t we do something like that regarding pension remittance. Why can’t we make things easier for employers. With this platform, employers can now pay their salaries, taxes and pension at the same time seamlessly,” she said.
Oranye maintained that the platform is a user-friendly, self service electronic system for pension collection and makes the uploading and transferring of schedules and contributions so much easier for the employer.
By Pita Ochai