The National Pension Commission (PenCom) on Wednesday said about 177,000 contributors who have lost their jobs as at September 2016 have accessed 25 percent of their contributions in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
Confirming the development, Mr. Olulana Loyinmi, Head, Benefits and Insurance Department, PenCom, at a workshop organised for Finance, Insurance & Labour Correspondents and Business Editors in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, said that 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.
According to him, “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 177,000,which when compared to the number of people who have actually retired and are getting their pension, the figure are almost the same.”
He added that 50 per cent of the documents PenCom processed, since January, on pension matters are actually from those demanding for 25 per cent of their pension contributions.
“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.”
Earlier, the Director General, PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, had said the enactment of the Pension Reforms Act (PRA) 2014 will allow the commission to expand the coverage of the CPS to the underserved economic sectors through micro pension initiative, noting that the commission seeks to increase registered pension contributors to at least 20 million by the year 2019.
This, she said, would be achieved through the informal sector participation, believing the micro pension plan would provide the impetus.
“The Commission has also enhanced its support to the states in facilitating their adoption and implementation of the CPS by providing a bespoke technical assistance, through our State Operations Department and Zonal Offices in each of the 6 geo-political Zones,” Anohu-Amazu, who was represented by the Commissioner, Inspectorate, PenCom, Professor Mohammed Kaoje, pointed out.