PenCom recovers N24.5bn pension contributions in 11 years

PENCOM, mortgage

By Joy Obakeye

The National Pension Commission PenCom says it has recovered 24.5-billion-naira pension contributions owed workers by defaulting employers from June 2012 to 31 March 2023.

Further breakdown shows that the sum comprises contributions of 12.4 billion naira and penalties of 12.1 billion naira.

Aisha Dahir-Umar, the Director-General of Pencom in her welcome remark at a workshop organised for Labour Writers Association ( LAWAN) in Lagos, revealed that in the first quarter of 2023, 384.3 million naira, comprising contributions of 193.1 million naira and penalties of 191.2 million naira, was recovered from 34 defaulting employers.

She was represented by the Head of Corporate Communications of PenCom, Mr Abdulqadir Dahiru.

The Pencom DG also noted that “PenCom is committed to protecting workers’ interests and ensuring employers pay pension contributions as and when due.

“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.

“Meanwhile, from the commencement of the recovery of pension contributions owed workers in June 2012 to 31 March 2023, the Commission has recovered N24.53 billion (contributions of N12.44 billion and penalties of N12.09 billion) from defaulting employers,” she stressed.

While reeling out the importance of the training, the PenCom boss expatiated on the several initiatives the agency has embarked upon in recent times.

“The Commission’s meticulous regulation and supervision of the pension industry ensures that Pension Assets and CPS membership continue to grow. The value of Pension Assets stood at N15.58 trillion as of 31 March 2023, while CPS membership was 9.95 million”.

She maintained that the policy where RSA holders can utilise a portion of the retirement savings to secure residential mortgage is gaining traction, but emphasized on some clarity for intending RSA holders who plan to tap into the initiative.

“Last year, PenCom 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.

“Under this new policy, RSA holders who have contributed to their accounts for at least five years and meet specific eligibility criteria can utilise up to 25% 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,” the PenCom DG reiterated.

Speaking further, she noted that it is “pertinent to note 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. The remaining balance in the RSA continues to grow and accumulate until the RSA holder attains retirement age,” she stressed.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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