The National Pension Commission (PenCom), Nation Board for Technical Education (NBTE), and other stakeholders on Thursday in Abuja commissioned Nigeria’s first private pension tertiary institution.
The Abuja School of Pension and Retirement Planning (ASP), a pensions monotechnic, specialized exclusively, in matters relating to Pension, Retirement Planning and related disciplines, has developed curricula in National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Pensions Administration and Management.
According to the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Dr. Masoud Kazaure, “the institution was set up to advance academic pursuit and defines career roadmaps in the Nigerian Pension Industry, in addition to assisting workers and organisations in preparing for fulfilled retirement.
“Given the far-reaching implication of Pension and Retirement Planning in people’s lives and the economy, it is time that formal training, based on a national curriculum and conducted in accredited institutions be undertaken.
“Happily, the Abuja School of Pension and Retirement Planning is conceived to provide tertiary education for the development and acquisition of vital skills, capability and capacity in Pension and related disciplines.
“Led by NBTE, and selected experts including representatives of PenCom, a week-long National Curriculum workshop was held on the ND and HND Pension Administration and Management programmes.
“Having become a National/Legal document, the ND/HND National programmes Pensions Administration Management would no doubt provide the required manpower in all spheres of Administration and Management of Pensions and Related issues in the country.”
The Acting Director General of PenCom, Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar, in her welcome address said that the institution is the first of its kind, and PenCom is proud to be part of its birthing process.
According to her, “You will all agree that the pension industry has become an undisputed catalyst of social security in the country. It has also become a propeller of the Nigerian economic development.
“Today this industry has assets worth about N8.9 trillion as at February this year. Registered membership as at February this year is also about 8.5 million.
“The industry is strictly regulated and administered by tested professionals, so the industry is knowledge-driven; that is one of the reasons it has grown so very fast within a relatively short period.
“In order to consolidate and sustain the pace the industry has made within this short period, it has to have continuous education; it requires training and retraining every time.
“It is on the basis of this backdrop that the National Pension Commission about two years ago felt compelled to partner with Abuja School of Pension, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), and many other relevant experts to develop a nationally approved curriculum for the study of pension retirement benefits matters in the country.
“Our expectation is that graduates of this institution should be able to suit its requirements in all things pension. We don’t expect anything less from this school given the caliber of faculty that the management of the school has assembled.”
The Founder of the Abuja School of Pension, Dr. Musa Abdullahi, who represented the Chairman of Council, Prof. M. N. Maiturare, said that: “Considering the fact that the pensions sector generates a very huge amount of funds and assets competing with the budget of the federal government, yet there is no formal process of educational training for those people that are going to handle these assets.
“It is therefore absolutely important that we have people with capability, capacity, and necessary skills to ensure that not only that the funds are there when you retire, but are also available at a reasonable amount that the people will be able to live a retirement life.
“When we enquired, we found that there is no national curricular that has been approved neither by the Nation Board for Technical Education (NBTE) or the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC).
“We set out on a project to initiate this, and with the assistance of many stakeholders like PenCom, NBTE, and several experts in the country, we came together, made a draft and invited them to review and critique the curricular up to the time when it was approved.”
He further added: “This is the first time that we have a national curricular starting from National Diploma to Higher National Diploma in Pension Administration and Management. We also intend to partner with some universities to provide a post-graduate diploma in management.
“We are not looking at retirement from a gloomy perspective. We think you have to have a retirement plan; every organisation must have a retirement plan workers and educate people in terms of retirement life. This school is going to assist with that at a very national level.”
The FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, represented by Senator Isa Maina, lauded the novel initiative of the institution to provide proper training in pension and retirement matters in order to ensure that senior citizens do not suffer unduly after meritoriously serving the nation.
Dr. Musa Ibrahim, Founder, Abuja Pension Academy, Acting DG, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, Zanan Kano, Senator Isa Maina (Repreesenting FCT Minister)
Credit: The Nation