PFAs build portal for pension data recapture

From left: Member House Committee on Pension Hon. Thaddeus Attah; Vice President Pension Fund Operators of Nigeria, Joy Ojakovo; Managing Director Access Pensions, Dave Uduanu and Chief Executive Officer, Oguche Agudah at the event.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Worried about the attitude of most Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders in complying with the data recapturing directives by the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) are now developing a portal to ease the process.

The immediate past President of Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) Olumide Oyetan, disclosed this at the recently held PenOp 4th National Assembly Retreat 2024 in Lagos.

He noted that the operators having deployed several means to get RSA holders come forth for recapturing, but only a handful of them complied, whilst others complained of their work schedules, PFAs, resolved to digitalised the process so that people can recapture their data easily in the comfort of their homes and offices.

He said only those about to retire and retirees have shown commitments to the recapturing exercise, stressing that with the portal, all RSA holders would be effectively captured on the pension database.

PenCom had last year asked all retirement savings account holders to visit any branch of their pension fund administrators to participate in the ongoing Data Recapture Exercise (DRE).

PenCom explained that the DRE was initiated to obtain RSA holders’ current, complete and accurate data.

The exercise, which commenced four years ago, is meant for both active contributors and retirees whose data have not been recaptured.

The data recapture exercise began in August 2019 in compliance with section 23(e) of the pension reform act 2014. The initiative was aimed at updating the data of RSA holders who opened their accounts before July 1 in the same year.

The DRE is said to comply with the federal government’s directive that all data-generating organisations should harmonise their databases with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). It is also consistent with the need for a credible database of all RSA holders in Nigeria.

In that regard, PenCom said it “designed, developed and deployed an enhanced contributor registration system (ECRS), which has been integrated with the NIMC to authenticate the uniqueness of individuals seeking to register under the contributory pension scheme (CPS) and existing RSA holders who wish to update their records”.

The commission said RSA holders in the public sector, private sector organisations and retirees must participate in the data recapture exercise to update their biodata and biometric (picture and signature) information.

There seem to be several implications of not participating in the recapture exercise. For instance, only “RSA holders who have completed their data recapture can transfer their RSAs from the current PFA to another PFA consistent with PenCom’s approval”.

The agency said contributors who are yet to be recaptured “cannot access retirement benefits at retirement to ensure that payments of retirement benefits are to the actual contributors”.

“Furthermore, temporary access to RSA for 25 percent of the RSA balance in the case of job loss is only available for RSA holders that have successfully recaptured their data,” PenCom said.

“RSA holders with multiple PINs that failed to recapture their data would face delays in resolving their situations. In addition, having numerous PINs would lead to incorrect remittances by employers and delay the payment of retirement benefits due to the need to reconcile the RSAs. Therefore, contributors with multiple RSA PINs must present all their RSA PINs to their PFA at the point of data recapture.”

The commission also noted that not participating in the DRE affects the ability of RSA holders to update registration records in the future. For instance, an RSA holder cannot make updates relating to a name change due to marriage or a change of an employer or even a next of kin (NoK). Thus, it is in the interest of the RSA holder to participate in the DRE to avoid undue delays in accessing services from PFAs.

PenCom, in the statement, listed steps it has taken to ensure a glitch-free recapturing process.

To fast-track the DRE, the agency said it approved a proposal of the PFAs under their umbrella body, the Pension Operators’ Association of Nigeria (PenOp), for an industry shared service initiative (SSI). Consequently, the PFAs engaged two agents, Payone Solution Systems Limited and Afritech Multi Concept Limited, to carry out the DRE consistent with PenCom’s approval.

The agents are authorised to establish data recapture centres, the commission said.

“RSA holders are, therefore, allowed to have their data recaptured at such centres by the agents (if they cannot visit the offices of their PFAs),” PenCom added.

“This arrangement has enhanced efficiency in carrying out the exercise as it would allow an agent to recapture all RSA holders in the same organisation on behalf of all PFAs.”

The agency said the selected agents can also carry out NIN registrations seamlessly because of its partnership with NIMC.

PenCom noted that it directed all PFAs to issue acknowledgement slips to RSA holders who submit complete documents for their data recapture.

“The RSA holders are notified via text messages of the status of their data recapture (successful or not successful) within five working days of submission of documents,” the organisation said.

To participate in the DRE, the commission encourages active contributors to visit their PFAs and provide their staff identity card or any valid means of identification (national driver’s licence, permanent voter’s card or international passport).

In addition, contributors are to present their enrollment slip issued by NIMC and birth certificate or sworn affidavit of age declaration for the DRE.

According to PenCom, retirees on programmed withdrawal or annuity should present any valid means of identification ( see aforementioned list), enrollment slip issued by NIMC and letter of retirement issued by the employer to the retiree for the DRE.

“Finally, RSA holders, who have changed either their surnames or first names or both after registration, should present the following to their PFA to be recaptured: Marriage certificate (only applicable in the case of marriage); newspaper publication for change of name; and
sworn affidavit and confirmation letter for change of name from employer (if still in employment),” PenCom posited.

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