IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2004 PENSION REFORM ACT IN FEDERAL TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN SOUTH EAST STATES, NIGERIA
This research work evaluated the implementation or the application of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004 otherwise called the contributory pension scheme, in the selected federal tertiary institutions in South Eastern Nigeria. The study has as its objective to evaluate the Pension Reform Act 2004. The specific objectives were: to identify the reasons for the delays in the payment of pension and gratuity in the selected institutions, examined the impact on the retired workers, ascertained how the new pension act helped to solve the problem and traced the history of pension schemes in Nigeria and three other countries – Canada, Japan and United States of America (U.S.A). The economic instability resulting from the global economic crises makes it necessary to review the 2004 Pension Reform Act and to evaluate its implementation in the selected institutions. The result of this study is expected to add to the data bank/literature in this area, provide relevant information to the Government/agencies responsible for its implementation, view the activities of the stakeholder and help to improve their performance. The hypotheses of the study were formulated based on the objectives, the significance of the study and the research questions. The population of the study was 2,010 consisting of Pensioners under the new Pension Act, Pension Managers/Co-ordinator/Desk officers, Management Staff of the selected Institutions and four Pension Funds Administrators for the South-East States, Nigeria. The study made use of data from primary and secondary sources – interview of stakeholrders from the four selected Federal Tertiary Institutions in the South East States Nigeria that make up sample for the study, Pension Administrators, the policy document among others. The study covered only retirees under the new Pension Reform Act 2004. The technique of analyses used in the study is the inductive method. This is used because of the nature of the data involved – qualitative data. We conclude that the application of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004 or contributory pension scheme has a positive impact on the employee retirement benefits or pension and gratuity of retired workers of the selected Federal tertiary Institutions in the South Eastern States of Nigeria. The study recommended among others, that Pension scheme in Nigeria should be expanded to allow for plans not just one to enable workers who could afford it to participate in two or more pension plans, as is obtainable in other countries like Canada, United State of America (USA) among others: provision of enabling environment for the smooth implementation of the scheme, effective monitoring of all players and adequate sanction of erring operators. Government should review some aspect of the scheme and also increase the contribution from 15% to 40% to be shared between the employer and the employee at the ratio of 3:1 (75%/25%). This will enhance or make better what the retired worker collects at the end as well as his monthly payments after retirement.