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Chuks Udo Okonta
Individuals presently having a Retirement Saving Accounts (RSAs) would not be allowed to partake in the recently launched micro pension plan, the National Pension Commission (PenCom), has said.
The Acting Zonal Head (South-West Zonal Office), National Pension Commission (PenCom) Sola Adeseun, disclosed this on Retirement Mata Pidgin Radio Programme sponsored by the commission. According to him, the micro pension plan was designed to carter for informal workers who have never had any pension plan.
He noted that RSA holders who are no longer in a formal employment and seek to continue to contribute to their accounts should do so through the voluntary contribution window.
Sola noted that the micro pension guidelines only allowed people to migrate from micro pension plan to Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) when they secure a job in the formal sector.
He noted that PenCom has put in place adequate measures to ensure that contributions made by micro pension subscribers are safe, stressing that the plan will really help secure the future of informal sector workers.
He also posited that the plan allows contributors choose when they feel they due to retire as against the CPS which gave a limit of 50 years expect judges and others.
Echoing, Head, Corporate Communications Department, PenCom, Peter Aghahowa, said, the plan is targeted at workers who have never be captured by the CPS.
Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar
Acting Director-General, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, said PenCom had extensively engaged all relevant stakeholders and obtained their inputs before the product was developed to suit their requirements.
She posited that the product is flexible with respect to contribution amount and the channel of remittance of contributions to the respective pension accounts, stressing that access to accumulated contributions is also flexible, seamless and facilitated by technology through varied payment system platforms.
According to her, a prospective Micro Pension contributor is required to open a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) by completing a physical or electronic registration form with a Pension Funds Administrator (PFA) of his/her choice, and the contributors may make contributions daily, weekly, monthly or as may be convenient to them.
She stated that every contribution shall be split into two, comprising 40 per cent for contingent withdrawal and 60 per cent for retirement benefits, adding that the contributor may, based on his/her needs, periodically withdraw the total or part of the balance of the contingent portion of his/her RSA, including all accrued investment income thereto.
The contributor, she said may also choose to convert the contingent portion of the contributions to the retirement benefits portion and the remaining balance in the RSA shall be available to the contributor upon retirement or attaining the age of 50 years.
“Pursuant to its regulatory and supervisory mandate, the Commission had established a separate Department dedicated to the supervision of all matters relating to Micro Pension Plan, including enforcement of compliance with the Guidelines and customer complaint handling and resolution. Our objective is to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery as well as transparency and accountability in the administration of the product by licensed pension operators,” she said.
She stated that guaranteed minimum pension will be given, provided the contributor made contributions for a cumulative period of not less than 120 months and the RSA balance at retirement shall not be less than N500,000.
She maintained that the plan is expected to significantly expand pension coverage to greater number of Nigerians and further generate additional long term funds for Nigeria’s economic development, adding that the Commission would collaborate with relevant stakeholders to sensitize and enlighten the target participants and members of the public on the features and benefits of the Micro Pension Plan.