By: Afolabi Oyekunle.
The National Pension Commission (PENCOM) has assured that Pension Funds are being invested with reputable financial institutions and organizations to avoid any loss and with great potentials to all contributors, assuring investors their money are in safe hands.
This assurance was given by the Director General of PENCOM, Aisha Dahir-Umar at a one day workshop organised by PENCOM for members of the Labour Writers Association of Nigeria (LAWAN) towards better reporting of pension activities.
The workshop has the theme, “Securing the Future: The Benefits of the Contributory Pension Scheme to the Nigerian Workers”.
The annuity of 105,446 retirees valued 194.12 billion naira has already been paid as lump sum while 595.43 billion naira as premium that provides an average monthly pension of 6.25 billion naira is been paid.
According to her, Pencom’s mission is to ensure that workers receive their retirement benefits as at when due.
She said the Commission’s meticulous regulation and supervision of the pension industry ensures that Pension Assets and CPS membership continue to grow.
She said the value of Pension Assets stood at N15.58 trillion as of 31 March 2023, while CPS membership was 9.95 million.
The PENCOM Director General said the Commission has launched a policy that allows Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders to utilise a portion of their retirement savings as equity for residential mortgages.
“This policy marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to provide greater flexibility and access to pension funds for the benefit of RSA holders. It recognises that many individuals face challenges in securing adequate housing upon retirement and aims to address this issue by unlocking the value of their pension savings to facilitate homeownership.”
This policy aligns with our commitment to ensuring that pension funds catalyse economic development and social well-being.”
According to the Director General , it is an important aspect of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) that benefits workers who lose their job. As an RSA holder, an employee can access 25% of their RSA balance to help cushion the effect of unforeseen job loss if they cannot secure another employment after four months.
“It is essential to note that this partial withdrawal is not a replacement for retirement benefits but rather a means to offer immediate support during a difficult period.”
She said the remaining balance in the RSA continues to grow and accumulate until the RSA holder attain retirement age.”
The PENCOM Director General assured that PenCom is committed to protecting workers’ interests and ensuring employers pay pension contributions as and when due.
In that regard, during the first quarter of 2023, N384.28 million, comprising contributions of N193.06 million and penalties of N191.22 million, was recovered from 34 defaulting employers
PENCOM has also cleared 181 firms to work with government as disclosed in a report ” Scheduled Employers issued with certificate of compliance with provision of the PRA 2014 as at January 2023.