Pension assets in Nigeria are expected to hit the N20 trillion target in the next eight years, according to Mr. Eguarekhide Longe, Chairman, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria [PenOp].

Longe said at a media retreat organised by PenOp in Lagos that pension contributions were growing by 20/21 per cent per quarter while acknowledging that pension contributions have recently declined due to the present economic situation in the country.

On the contentious issue of investment in infrastructure, the PenOp chief said the industry cannot afford the risk of applying pension funds to long-term investments, which could imperil such funds and make it difficult for operators to meet obligations to retirees as at when due.

“The development of infrastructure is the responsibility of government. We cannot make investments that are speculative. We cannot afford to lose money. Many infrastructure projects are long-term and end up in controversy.”

Longe, who is also the Managing Director/CEO of AIICO Pension Managers Limited, suggested that Federal Government bonds ought to have been deployed to develop infrastructure projects in the country, rather than the present clamour for the investment of pension funds in infrastructure.

He also doused the speculation in certain quarters that pension operators were behind the delay in the take-off of the pension transfer window to protect the business of non-performing Pension Fund Administrators [PFAs] that might lose contributors to other operators.

Longe assured the market: “There is no conspiracy theory in the pension transfer window initiative.”