The Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) and President, Association of African Universities, Professor Olusola Oyewole has reiterated the commitment of the University Management to promoting the welfare of members of staff. Professor Oyewole gave this assurance during the just-concluded training workshop on Capacity Building on Investment of Pension Fund and Returns of Investment Portfolio, under the old pension scheme and held for the Pension Board of Trustees of FUNAAB, in Badagry, Lagos.

According to him, “our University has continued to pay monthly pension to our pensioners on a regular basis as pensions are taken to various banks on or before 21st of each month. The University is also up-to-date in the payment of various upward reviews of pension by the Federal Government to all our pensioners”.

He recalled that in the past years, the University had held series of workshops for would-be retirees of the University on how to set up and manage businesses, saying that available statistics showed that these efforts had yielded tremendous results in the life of retirees. He added that the University was commited to preparing its staff ahead to face the challenges of retirement. Professor Oyewole, however, encouraged participants at the workshop to obtain information on opportunities on how best to invest their funds. The Vice-Chancellor was represented at the occasion by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development, Professor Felix Salako.

The Chairman, Planning Committee of the workshop, Professor Peter Okuneye stated that the workshop would enable make participants to be “better-off in the art of financial management and fund utilisation” and that the resource persons were carefully chosen based on their experience, to speak the essential focus of the workshop.

In his presentation titled, Guidelines on Pension Fund Utilisation and Management, the Head, Research and Policy at the National Pension Commission, Abuja, Dr. Babatunde Alayande described pension fund as the fund that was established, as a joint contribution of both the employee and employer.

He stated that the key players in pension fund management were the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) and the Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs), adding that the PFAs manage pension fund assets and make investment decisions while the PFCs keep custody of pension fund assets on trust, among other functions.

Citing Section 72 of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004, Dr. Alayande noted the objectives of the Pension Fund Investment include ensuring that there were adequate, affordable, sustainable and safe benefits accruable to contributors. He added that the challenges facing pension fund investment comprise limited investment products, ineffective regulatory oversight of the financial system and low financial literacy of the populace.

In a paper titled, Financial Management in the Nigerian Business Climate, the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company, Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane emphasised the importance of financial management. Represented by his associates, Messrs Duben Ara and Emmanuel Onoja, he described financial management as the efficient and effective usage of an organisation’s financial resources in such a manner that would accomplish its business objectives by maximizing value. He added that the lucrative sectors that are good for investments are the downstream petroleum sector, real estate, telecoms, hospitality and the power sector.

Mr. Oluwasegun Oye of Alicorn Consulting Limited presented a paper titled, Returns on Investment and Risk Analysis: Theory and Practice, where he described risk management function as the provision of an objective and independent measurement of risk portfolio within an investment mandate. Mr. Oye noted that the main threat to managing good investment was the non-adherence to stipulated investment policy.

Delivering a paper titled, Budgeting and Fund Administration in Business Development, the Head, Department of Management and Accounting, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Taiwo Asaolu observed that it was a fundamental duty of the Pension Board to administer funds solely in the interest of beneficiaries whose assets were invested in the funds, adding that the goal of the Board was to generate returns, taking into account, the fund’s liabilities, liquidity needs and risk tolerance of members. Professor Asaolu, who was represented by Dr. John Ayoola, stated that the investment funds include mutual funds, index funds, balanced funds, bond funds, unit investment funds, money markets funds, exchange-traded funds, equity funds and hedge funds.

In his paper titled, Business Opportunities in the Present Nigerian Environment, the Head, Department of Entrepreneurship, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Professor Duro Adegeye described his topic as covering “the secrets of Nigerian inexhaustible resource, the virgin sector, the goldmine and the industry of yesterday, today and tomorrow, which is Agriculture”, saying he expected the “participants after leaving the workshop to be determined not to look back as they put their hands on the plough and to make millions – not from the banks, teaching, civil service and so on – but from farming”.

“It is our duty in the Universities and the Polytechnics to open the eyes of our students to these opportunities in agriculture and produce literature to back this up. Some of these must be incorporated in entrepreneurship studies in these institutions. Efforts should be made to form our students into groups and let them identify opportunities in agriculture that have hardly been addressed by the present structure of production”, he stressed.

He also advised students of agriculture not to underrate their profession, saying that farming was a noble profession, which had been found to be capable of earning good incomes when compared with those from financial institutions.

The Director, Development Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Paul Eluhaiwe, while delivering a paper titled, Accessing External Fund for Business Development, said that the strategic importance of Small and Medium Enterprises were critical to the creation of employment, competition, innovation, productivity and growth, which had contributed to over 10 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

He added that the problems facing businesses in the country were hinged on parlous infrastructure, limited access to finance and high cost of finance.

The Dean, Faculty of Education and a Counselling Psychologist, University of Lagos, Professor (Mrs.) Mopelola Omoegun, who spoke on the Psychology of Retirement and Well-Being, said retirement was a major turning point in the life of a man, which could change his/her focus and priorities and that the ability to adapt to these changes depended on attitudes, lifestyle, planning and preparations, as she counseled participants to plan well for their retirements.