By Omobola Tolu-Kusimo
Its Managing Director, Eguarekhide Longe who spoke during the unveiling of a micro pension product, Gift-a-Pension in Lagos, said it has been difficult to find people take up the micro pension.
This, he said prompted the company to look at the environment very carefully before entering into the market with the product and then build on it.
The product is designed primarily to enable people reward their personal and domestic workers by gifting them a Micro Pension Plan (MPP) and contributing on their behalf on a regular basis.
MPP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in March last year to secure the future of the informal sector workers, a group of people that constitutes about 70 per cent of the working population in the country.
He said the company has always looked for the unique product that could be given to its clients.
He said the the firm chose Valentine’s Day to unveil the product, noting that it is a day people give gifts to each other.
He said: “The product is simply a pension product that allows people who have individuals that they hold dear and want to build their future for them decide to set up pension for them.
It is a process that we expect that will have good anchorage because the individuals who set up the scheme in the first place are very knowledgeable of what pension can do for them and would gift it to people who are close to them.
The product launch is signaling event to commence its sale and we will build up on the awareness that has been launched today.
“We have looked at it all over the globe and we found that gift a pension process sets up a pension scheme for people who will primarily not set up pension for themselves. It is a very potent way of developing the informal sector pensions.”
Head, Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications, Mr Olubankole Ekundayo added that micro pension is for people who do not work in the formal space.
“With formal pension, the employer is responsible for the pension contribution but with micro pension, the account holder is responsible.
We realised at AIICO Pension that it is not gaining the kind of traction it should gain so because a lot of people who we want key into it cannot really afford it.
Yes, pension is for everybody but the truth is that it is not cheap. It takes dedication, understanding and good disposable income.
“We realise that a lot of people do not have extra disposable income to give for pension and so we came up with the initiative of gift a pension, where people who have a little extra can give that pension which is a gift of a lifetime to domestic staff. This product takes the burden off this people to their sponsors.
“Also because we understand that sponsors usually have busy schedules, we have put in place a seamless process with a technology platform that would them to purchase the product from their mobile phones,” he said.
The Director-General, Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC), Mrs Folashade Onanuga who was a special guest at the event believes micro pension is an attempt at ensuring that any Nigerian who reaches an advanced age has something to fall back on at retirement.
“Yes, we have the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for those in structured employment but there is no provision for artisans and other self-employed people. These people will need a means of sustenance at old age too.
“Micro pension will help these category of people to plan for eventual old age and as people embrace it, we will get to a point where the country will have a provision for the elderly.
“Gift a pension is good because if people work for you as housemaids, drivers, among others, as an employer, you should think of their welfare in old age. You can add value to their lives.
“ We have found some employers send their housemaids to school and even travel abroad. This product is another way in which you can add value to your domestic and personal staff.”
One of the company’s client, Peter Edorh lauded the company for coming up with the product, noting that it will widen the net of pension coverage.
Edorh who said he will purchase the product for his domestic staff said this category of people have been neglected all this while.
He also believes that despite economic challenge, people will buy it if they understand it.