Director General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Muhammed Kabir Ahmad, has made a case for the protection of migrant workers in the ECOWAS sub-region through the provision of retirement benefits for them. He said this yesterday at the opening of a three-day meeting of the migrant workers working group of the Internationa Social Security Association (ISSA) West Africa chapter. He said the meeting was a representation of various sections of security organizations in ECOWAS with a view to having a closer look at the plight of migrant workers in the sub-region. He said, "as part of the ECOWAS protocols, citizens in member countries can work in different parts of the region. That is why we feel the need to sit down and discuss within the context of ISSA and International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention as to how to protect migrant workers' retirement benefits."
Ahmad said the beauty of the contributory pension scheme introduced by Nigeria in 2004 is the retirement benefits that are paid into beneficiaries' savings account and could be moved to any part of the country. He added that there was already in existence, regulations that cover migrant workers, saying, "we thought we can share this with other existing members of ECOWAS countries."
The PenCom boss further said the initiative was to protect migrant workers such that wherever they worked, they could get their benefits from the start of their work till their final state of residency. For instance, "if he is a Nigerian and worked in Ghana, he should be able to move his benefits to Nigeria," he said. In his opening address, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, represented by the Acting Director, Socio-Security, Nwokedi Ositadinma, said the development of the sub-region cannot be achieved if the well being of the migrant workers from various countries integrated into the community are not secured during their service year.
Culled from the Nigerian Daily Trust Newspaper