Recession: Dismissed workers scramble for pension fund as 177,284 get benefits


From left: President, National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents, Mrs Omobola Tolu-Kusimo; Commissioner Inspectorate PenCom, Prof. Mohammed Abubakar; Chairman, Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria, Babajide Komolafe; Chairman of Abuja breach of FICAN, Simeon Ogoegbunam; and President, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Longe Eguarekhide at the event.

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Chuks Udo Okonta

The economic recession seems to be having a toll on workers as many of them who are disengaged are now seeking for 25 per cent of their pension contributions, as the National Pension Commission (PenCom) strives to meet this demand which was said to be 50 per cent of documents processed by the regulator in the current year.

Confirming the development at the ongoing workshop organised by PenCom for Finance, Insurance & Labour Correspondents and Business Editors in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, today, the Head, Benefits and Insurance Department, PenCom, Olulana Loyinmi, said the increase in the number of contributors applying for the 25 per cent of their pension contributions was as a result of increase in the number of people that have lost their jobs in the last nine months.

He noted that as at September 2016, 177,284 Retirement Saving Account (RSA) holders who lose their jobs and could not secure a new one after four months have collected N55.45 billion.

“On the magnitude of people who have made temporary access to their retirement savings account in the form of withdrawals of 25 per cent, the latest figure as at September, 2016 is 177,284 which when compared to the number of people who have actually retired and are getting their pension, the figure are almost the same.

“That is an indication of how people are losing their jobs or are getting disengaged and having waited for about four months without getting another job, they resort to access their retirement account. If you measure in number, the documents we process, it is almost about half (50%) of activities of the commission since January,” he said.

It was gathered that greater parts of the over N49.55 billion pension benefits paid by Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to disengaged workers went to junior staff.

PenCom said since the inception of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), over N49.55 billion has been paid to 177,000 disengaged Nigerian workers who could not secure a new job after four months.

PenCom stressed that in the first quarter of this year, it granted approval for the payment of N3.32 billion to 10,481 Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders under the age of 50 years who were disengaged and were unable to secure another job within four months disengagement.

The commission noted that the private sector accounted for 95.55 per cent (152,262) of the disengaged RSA holders, who received a total of N49.55 billion being 25 per cent of their RSA balances as at the time they were disengage.

The regulator said over 270 of the disengaged workers were the federal government employment; over 282 from the states and over 9929 from the private sector which is over 10,481 workers and payment of over N3.32 billion.

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