The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has successfully retrieved a substantial sum of N24.53 billion in outstanding pension contributions owed by defaulting employers. The Director-General of PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, made this announcement during the 2023 Labour Writers Association of Nigeria (LAWAN) Workshop held in Lagos. The workshop, themed “Securing the Future: The Benefits of the Contributory Pension Scheme to Nigerian Workers,” aimed to highlight the advantages of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for Nigerian employees.
Represented by Mr. Abdulqadir Dahiru, the Head of Corporate Communications at PenCom, Mrs. Dahir-Umar revealed that the recovered amount consisted of N12.44 billion in actual pension contributions and N12.09 billion in penalties. In the first quarter of 2023 alone, N384.28 million (comprising N193.06 million in contributions and N191.22 million in penalties) was collected from 34 defaulting employers. PenCom remains committed to safeguarding the interests of workers and ensuring that employers meet their pension contribution obligations in a timely manner.
Dahiru-Umar emphasized that PenCom is dedicated to guaranteeing that Nigerian workers receive their retirement benefits promptly. Through meticulous regulation and supervision of the pension industry, the commission has facilitated continuous growth in pension assets and CPS membership. As of March 31, the value of pension assets stood at N15.58 trillion, while CPS membership reached 9.95 million.
Highlighting a significant policy launched by PenCom in 2022, Mrs. Dahiru-Umar stated that Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders can now utilize a portion of their savings as equity for mortgages. This policy grants greater flexibility and access to pension funds, empowering RSA holders to address housing challenges after retirement. Eligible RSA holders who have contributed to their accounts for at least five years can utilize up to 25% of their pension savings as equity for residential property acquisition. This initiative aligns with PenCom’s commitment to leveraging pension funds to stimulate economic development and social well-being.
Additionally, in cases of job loss, RSA holders who are unable to secure alternative employment after four months can access 25% of their RSA balance to mitigate the financial impact. This partial withdrawal from the RSA aims to provide immediate support during difficult periods, while the remaining balance continues to grow and accumulate until the account holder reaches retirement age.
The Director-General urged LAWAN members to approach the workshop with an open mind and a commitment to journalistic excellence. She expressed optimism that enhancing journalists’ understanding of pensions would enable them to effectively educate the public, dispel misconceptions, and promote financial planning culture and security among Nigerian workers. Recognizing the influential role of the media in shaping public opinion and policy discussions, she emphasized the importance of accurate and comprehensive reporting on pension-related matters for the well-being and future of Nigerian workers.