• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

CPS attracts 9.95m contributors

Contributory pension assets now N16.76trn

The number of contributors to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) introduced in Nigeria in 2004, stood at 9.95 million as of March 2023.

This, according to industry stakeholders, is a far cry in a country whose population is estimated at over 200 million people. But despite the unimpressive number of contributors, the value of pension assets in the country rose to N15.58 trillion as of March 31, according to the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

Aisha Dahir-Umar, the director-general of PenCom, who gave the statistics at a workshop organised for journalists covering the labour industry, in Lagos, also said that the commission recovered N24.53 billion pension contributions owed workers by defaulting employers.

Represented by Abdulqaudri Dahiru, head of corporate communications of PenCom, the DG said the amount was recovered between June 2012 and March 31, 2023. According to her, of the recovered sum, N12. 44 billion was actual pension contribution while N12.09 billion was penalty.

The workshop had the theme: “Securing the future: The benefits of the contributory pension scheme to Nigerian workers”.

She said that during the first quarter of 2023, N384.28 million (comprising N193.06 million contributions and N191.22 million penalties) was recovered from 34 defaulting employers.

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The DG said the commission was committed to protecting workers’ interests and ensuring that employers pay pension contributions as and when due.

Dahiru-Umar added that PenCom was determined to ensure that Nigerian workers receive their retirement benefits on time.

She said that the commission’s meticulous regulation and supervision of the pension industry had ensured that pension assets and the CPS membership continue to grow.

She said that in 2022, PenCom launched a policy allowing Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders to utilise a portion of their retirement savings as equity for mortgages.

She said that the policy marked a significant milestone in the commission’s ongoing efforts to provide greater flexibility and access to pension funds for the benefit of RSA holders.

“We recognise that many individuals face challenges in securing adequate housing upon retirement, and we aim to address this issue by unlocking the value of their pension savings to facilitate homeownership.

“Under this new policy, RSA holders who have contributed to their accounts for at least five years and met specific eligibility criteria can utilise up to 25 percent of their pension savings as equity contribution towards acquiring residential properties.

“This policy aligns with our commitment to ensuring that pension funds catalyse economic development and social well-being,” she said.

Dahiru-Umar added that RSA holders could access 25 percent of their RSA balance to cushion the effect of job loss if they could not secure another employment after four months of job loss. She said that the partial withdrawal from RSA was to offer immediate support during a difficult period.