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Atiku condemns FG’s plan to tap into Pension funds for Infrastructure Projects

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Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has vehemently urged the Federal Government to immediately halt its plan to tap into the nation’s pension funds and other funds up to N20 trillion to finance infrastructure projects across Nigeria.

Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Wale Edun recently disclosed this during a press briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

Edun unveiled plans by the federal government to tap into the nation’s pension funds and other funds, aiming to release N20 trillion to finance critical infrastructure projects across Nigeria.

The minister emphasised that while the initiative will eventually stimulate economic growth and attract foreign investment interest, his immediate focus is domestic savings.

However, he provided scant details about the plan’s specifics, including the percentage of funds earmarked from pension funds.

In a statement posted on X, Atiku condemned the proposal, labelling it misguided and potentially disastrous for Nigeria’s hardworking retirees.

Atiku underscored the need for strict adherence to existing legislation governing pension funds, particularly the Pension Reform Act of 2014 and the Regulation on Investment of Pension Assets issued by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

He pointed out that any deviation from the investment limits stipulated in these regulations, such as the cap of 5% of total pension funds’ assets in infrastructure investments, would constitute a breach of trust towards retirees.

Highlighting the current landscape, Atiku noted that as of December 2023, total pension fund assets stood at approximately N18 trillion, with a significant portion invested in Federal Government Securities.

He emphasised that there are no surplus pension funds beyond the 5% threshold the government could recklessly utilise.

Atiku urged comprehensive reforms to instil investor confidence in the Nigerian economy and advocated for leveraging private resources, expertise, and technology to address the infrastructure funding challenges.

The Finance Minister’s proposal has ignited a fierce debate within the political and economic spheres. Stakeholders are calling for transparency, accountability, and adherence to legal frameworks in any attempt to unlock pension funds for infrastructure development.

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