1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Employee benefits are elements of remuneration given in addition to the various forms of cash pay. Pension is one indispensable form of employees’ solid benefits which has positive impact on employee discipline, loyalty and willingness to remain in the service of an employer, commitment to the attainment of job goals and concern for the survival of the organization. An occupational pension scheme is an arrangement under which an employer provides pension for employees when they retire or gives deferred benefits to members who leave. It is a system designed to provide the employees of an organization with a means of securing on retirement a standard of living reasonably consistent with that which they enjoyed while in service. Pension and related issues have received significant attention in many countries over the past decades. There are new changes in the way pension assets are managed and benefits are distributed to beneficiaries due to the difficulties associated with the pension schemes previously in existence. Robolino (2006) notes that many countries have opted for different forms of contributory pension schemes, in which employees and their employers are expected to pay certain percentages of their monthly earnings to a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) from which they would be drawing their pension benefits after retirement. Pension reflects money withheld during the period of employment and returned with interest to an employee after cessation of work, that is, at retirement. A retirement scheme is a way of providing an employee with either a lump sum of money when leaving the service of an employer or providing a pension to the employee. It provides benefits which can be regarded as compensation to an employee for the services rendered to the organization.
The history of the Nigerian Pensions administration dates back to the1950s.The Pension Reforms Act of 2004 brought into limelight the new pension scheme in Nigeria which is a defined contributory scheme unlike the old scheme which was largely defined benefits. The issue of pension has received much attention in many countries over the past decades. In fact, in recent times, pension has increasingly attracted the attention of policy makers in many countries as a means of facilitating privately funded retirement income savings by an ageing workforce (World Bank, 1994)
Retirement today only marks a change in lifestyle, not an end to a productive life as was too often the case in the past. Higher living standards and greatly improved healthcare have extended our life expectancy. At the same time our expectations for our old age have increased (Olaniyan, 2004).
We look forward to years of retirement which are active and rewarding. Retirement today is no longer a gentle stroll into the sunset years, but an opportunity to be grasped and vigorously enjoyed. Planning for your future is important, and pension planning is central to ensuring you can and will live the life you want to lead when you retire. Pensions as a form of social security against old-age poverty and other uncertainties have attracted great interest virtually everywhere in the world, both in developed and developing countries, in recent times. Pension programmes, especially those that are publicly financed and administered, have become an issue of concern to economists, policymakers and the general public. This is not only because such programmes are central to the well-being of pensioners and the elderly, but also because the majority of pension programmes are not actually balanced (that is they are not financially stable), and as such they are run at deficits, thus making the present values of their future liabilities to be enormous. To this end, an overview of what a pension programme scheme entails is needed for a general understanding of this form of social security service (Olaniyan, 2004). Therefore, this study focuses on the need for reform in public pension scheme in Nigeria, a case study of Ota LGA of Ogun state.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years the management of pension scheme in Nigeria has been inundated by multiple and diverse problems such as inadequate funding, inadequate subventions and grants, poor documentation and filing in pension offices, direct release of pension funds to underwriters, accumulated arrears of pensioners, inability to determine appropriate investment portfolios, lack of accountability, corruption and embezzlement of funds. Others include cumbersome clearance procedures, incompetence and inexperience of pension staff added to poor human relations, lack of etiquette and simple courtesy (Adebayo, 2010). This situation often affects employee loyalty and commitment to an organization negatively. There have been several reviews of pension schemes by the government which have also caused implementation problems.
The Nigerian pension reform became imperative in the face of the government’s inability to meet the pension overheads any longer, which has continued to cut deep into the national budget (Adebayo, 2010). There was also the need to alleviate both old age and household poverty by extending the policy to all sectors of the economy. The DBS (or pay-as-you-go, as it is sometimes referred to), which the public sector has operated for many years, has failed to live up to the financial and development aspirations of the country (and its economy). The private sector compliance ratio has also been low, because of a lack of effective regulation and supervisory mechanism for the system (Olaniyan, 2004). These problems necessitates the need to carry out a study on the need for reform in public pension scheme in Nigeria, a case study of Ota LGA of Ogun state.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine the need for reform in public pension scheme in Nigeria, a case study of Ota LGA of Ogun state. The specific objectives of the study include the following:
1. To ascertain the state of the present public pension scheme in Nigeria.
2. To find out the effect of the present public pension scheme in Nigeria on the delay in payment of pensions.
3. To investigate the influence of the present public pension scheme in Nigeria on poverty aggravation.
4. To examine the challenges facing the reform in public pension scheme in Nigeria.
5. To investigate the possible solutions to the challenges facing the reform in public pension scheme in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this study include the following:
1. What is the state of the present public pension scheme in Nigeria?
2. What is the effect of the present public pension scheme in Nigeria on the delay in payment of pensions?
3. Is there an influence of the present public pension scheme in Nigeria on poverty aggravation?
4. What are the challenges facing the reform in public pension scheme in Nigeria?
5. What are the possible solutions to the challenges facing the reform in public pension scheme in Nigeria?