The (Retirement Savings Account (RSA) funds grew by 20 percent from N163.8 billion in 2013 to N196.1 billion in 2014 while Retirees Fund increased by 8 percent from N24.68 billion in 2013 to N26.69 in 2014.
The Managing Director Helen Da-Souza gave the figures at the 7th annual general meeting (AGM) of the company in Abuja. In her report, the Chairman of the Board, Dr (Mrs.) Ngozi Olejeme, stated that the instability in the capital market and non-payment of salaries were factors that impacted negatively on the performance of Pension Funds.
Olejeme, represented by Comrade Peter Esele described 2014 as a stormy year for the Pension Industry, saying: “If one looks at the fact that Trustfund declared the same 25Kobo dividend in 2013 and 2014, one may not appreciate the difficulties in the environment in 2014.”
He added “We should not forget that the preparations for the 2015 general elections was at all-time high in 2014, the price of crude oil in the international market crashed in the same year and non-payment of salaries even at the federal level also took place during that year.
The Naira was devalued and we witnessed the instability of the stock market where we invested about 30% of our money. Overall, we have about 70% of our fund invested in one form of money market instrument or the other. Coupled with all of these, were all the negative forecasts about the outcome of the general elections. All of these were formidable factors that impacted negatively on the performances of businesses. So, for us, to be able to match what was declared in 2013 is a great achievement. We are also very happy that the shareholders showed massive understanding during the trying period. We are hopeful that with an improved operating environment this year, our shareholders will smile more in 2016.”
Esele noted that despite the difficult operating environment, the future for a robust contributory pension scheme is assured. He explained that though corruption is permitting the social fabric of society, the safety guard lines in place to safeguard Pension Fund will prevent its penetration into the Contributory Pension Scheme.
He cautioned government against tapping into pension funds for infrastructural development, such a move may jeopardize the future of pensioners. “There are other parts of the world where pension funds are used to stimulate and energize the economy. The question for us in Nigeria is whether we can trust government to protect the funds and use it strictly for what it is meant for? Can we put our trust in a government that cannot pay salaries? Can we guarantee the safety of our money in the hand of government that runs an ineffective and over-bloated bureaucracy? I think the bottom-line is trust between the people and government,” he said.
The Director General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Segun Oshinowo lauded Trustfund’s management for navigating the troubled waters to declare a dividend that did not reflect the difficulties 2014 brought.
“The shareholders see the reason the management of Trustfund had to declare 25kobo per share dividends and we commend them for their efforts despite formidable difficult operating environment,” Oshinowo said.