By Favour Nnabugwu
A whopping N32.68 billion was withdrawn from Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) of Retired Savings Accounts (RSAs) by 131,376 retired workers with less than N550,000 in their accounts.
Figures from the National Pension Commission, PenCom shows the latest figure of 131,376 retirees is a 14.4 per cent increase from 114,837 retired workers who withdrew N28.46 billion as of the end of June 2020.
Between June 2020 and December 2021, the number of retirees rose by 16,539 who withdrew N4.12 billion, according to PenCom.
It also shows that some foreign nationals returning to their countries withdrew their savings before they left Nigeria.
Pension Reform Act 2014 says any worker with less than N550,000 in his RSA is expected to be given the entire amount by the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) and subsequently allowed to quit the pension scheme
.PenCom decried the attitude of employers that deduct monthly contributions from workers’ emolument but fail to remit such to their RSAs with their respective PFAs.
It said it retains the services of recovery agents for the retrieval of outstanding pension contributions and penalties from defaulting employers.
The Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOP) said: “If the employer and employee have contributed consistently over this period of time, then the funds in that individual’s RSA account would be sufficient to have a decent lump sum with enough funds remaining to earn a decent pension for life.
“As a matter of fact, what we need to promote, and the pension industry is leading on that, is to encourage more workers to add to their statutory deductions while working, as this would enable them to shore up their balances over time.
“What we need to advocate more is the consistency and discipline in the contributions that will even remove the need for any large lump sum payout when retired.
“If a worker were to save N20,000 consistently every month for 15 years with an interest rate of 10 per cent per annum compounded for the 15 years, at the end of the period, he would have amassed over N16 million.