Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Fight for your rights, revisit management of pension funds, Oshiomhole tells labour leaders

Mr Oshiomhole said over N11 trillion deducted from the pension scheme ought to go into workers’ mortgage investments.

• December 6, 2023
Adams Oshiomhole Photo Credit Channels
Adams Oshiomhole [Photo Credit: Channels]

Ex-governor of Edo State and labour leader, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, has called on organised labour to revisit the management of the Contributory Pension Funds.

Mr Oshiomhole said this at the 8th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions on Tuesday in Abuja.

The theme of the conference was “Trade unionism in the era of economic crisis: Addressing the increasing poverty level of Nigerian workers.’’

He alleged that the federal and state governments were borrowing from the contributory pension funds at a low interest rate, thereby breaching the concept of establishing the contributory pension scheme.

He stated, “I resisted the idea of contributory pension to be managed by Pension Fund Administrators when I was the Nigeria Labour Congress president. These PFAs are profit seekers. You cannot give me six per cent return on my pension savings at an interest rate of 25 per cent.

“This is unfair. It means the worker is getting poorer. You must not accept that because you are the greatest contributors to the economy. Today, the pension scheme is over N11 trillion deducted and ought to go into mortgage investments for workers who had retired. If the N11 trillion is put into mass housing, workers, upon their retirement, would not be homeless. I want to urge you all to revisit the monies that PENCOM is managing, who are borrowing and what are they doing with the money,” he said.

He added that the scheme was supposed to address workers’ social capital needs.

Mr Oshiomhole also condemned the recent brutalisation of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero.

He, however, faulted the nationwide strike which temporarily grounded social and economic activities in the country for two days.

“Often times, labour leaders seek implementation of their demands from governments with biased positions that are not well articulated, giving the government officials upper hand in their negotiations,’’ he said.

He said the labour movement must always approach issues in a united front, even though the capitalists would always find ways to break or fragment them.

On the fuel subsidy policy of the government, Mr Oshiomhole urged workers not to lament their sorry situation but to put on their thinking cap and wriggle out of the dire situation.

He said rather than spend time agonising over government policies that are not working in their favour, they should engage as a united front to press home their demands to those in authority.

(NAN)

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