FG clarifies stance on pension funds amidst criticisms from Atiku, labour unions

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The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, has clarified that the Federal Government does not intend to illegally access pension funds, following concerns raised by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and labour unions.

The clarification comes after Edun’s announcement regarding plans to unlock N20 trillion from pension funds and other sources to finance critical infrastructure projects.

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In a statement, Edun reiterated the government’s commitment to adhering to the legal limits and regulations governing pension fund investments.

“There are stories making the rounds that the Federal Government plans to illegally access the hard-earned savings and pension contributions of workers. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

The minister reassured that any initiatives would strictly follow existing laws and safeguard the pension funds.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had expressed strong opposition to the plan, warning of potential adverse impacts on the pensioners’ savings.

He stated that the Pension Reform Act of 2014 allows only a small portion (5%) of pension funds to be invested in infrastructure projects, stressing the need for the government to respect these legal boundaries.

Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) had expressed concerns, threatening significant resistance if the government proceeds with the plan.

In their joint letter, they stressed the importance of transparency and accountability in handling pension funds and warned against undermining workers’ retirement security.

Edun addressed these concerns by explaining that the government’s announcement was merely informational and no approvals had been sought for any specific actions.

He assured that any use of pension funds would be within the prescribed legal limits, focusing on driving investment in key growth areas such as infrastructure and housing without compromising the safety of the funds.

Furthermore, Edun noted that the Federal Government could provide guarantees where necessary to ensure that investments are safe and contribute to economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation.

In response to the labour unions’ petition, Edun reiterated that the government has not accessed 70% of the pension fund value as claimed and emphasized the importance of maintaining transparency and prudence in managing these funds.

He called for collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that any initiative involving pension funds would be beneficial and secure.

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