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By Moshood Ayeni

A Retirement Savings Account (RSA) is an account that is opened for all workers in Nigeria (both private and public sector workers) where periodic pension contributions are made to and also from which retirement benefits are paid from at retirement.

Ideally, for every worker who is not exempted (read more on exempted workers here) from the contributory pension scheme (CPS) it is compulsory to have a RSA opened with a pension fund administrator (PFA) immediately after starting work or 6 months after if the worker fails to open one, the employer is obliged to open one and thus make all pension contributions paid into the RSA on behalf of the worker.

For those working with organization with less than 3 employees or self-employed individuals, having a RSA is NOT compulsory. But they can also have one if they want and it is advisable to do so. This is achieved through the Micro Pension Plan (MPP).

Opening of a RSA is free and easy. Anyone can approach any of the PFA to have one open for him/her. There are 22 PFAs presently out of which 2 of them service ONLY their employees (NUPEMCO (University Lecturers) and NPF Pensions Limited (Police)) while the other 20 serve the rest of the public. Check their lists and contacts of all the PFAs here.

As it is noted earlier, the responsibility of opening a RSA is that of the worker. The employer should also be really concerned when the worker who has been working for the organization does not have a RSA. At this level the employer is obliged to call up a PFA or make it mandatory for the worker to immediately open one.

This is because, for the employer it is not an excuse to claim that because the worker has no RSA opened, hence, pension contributions will not be made. All pension contributions due from the date the worker has started receiving his/her pay MUST be paid into the worker’s RSA irrespective of when the account is opened. Therefore, it is a wise thing for the employer to ensure that a RSA is opened as soon as the worker has started receiving his/her wages.


To open a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) for those not exempted from participating in the CPS, the following conditions must be satisfied:

  1. Must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Must be a Nigerian (compulsory) or can be a Non-Nigerian (not compulsory)
  3. Must be resident in Nigeria (compulsory) or can be a Non-resident (not compulsory)
  4. Must be working in an establishment of more than 3 workers** (compulsory) or less than 3 (not compulsory)
  5. Must have a National Identification Number (NIN) for Nigerians (compulsory).

If all these conditions have been met, the next stage is for the worker to approach a PFA to enroll into the CPS. The PFA will register the worker using the ECRS platform which is a platform that is provided by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

The ECRS stands for Enhanced Contributor Registration System. This is a platform developed by PenCom and is integrated with the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) database to enable seamless and authentic identity verification of all RSA holders.

The intending RSA holder will provide basic bio-data to the PFA to enable the RSA opened immediately. Such basic information as:

  • Names
  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone Number
  • Employer name
  • Next of Kin
  • Passport photo
  • Fingerprint
  • Signature
  • National Identification Number (NIN)
  • Valid means of Identification
  • Letter of Employment

Once the RSA is successfully opened, the RSA holder is issued a RSA Personal Identification Number (PIN) called the RSA PIN. The RSA PIN is a unique identification number issued to every RSA holder. The RSA PIN is issued once in a lifetime to every RSA holder. It is what is used to identify the worker on the PFA and PenCom database. The RSA PIN is quoted in every correspondence with the RSA holder. You can read more on the RSA PIN here.

The process is FREE all through and at no cost to the RSA holder.

You can visit any PFA of choice today to open a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) today.

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