AT least 131,376 workers, who retired from active service, cannot be placed on monthly pensions, according to the National Pension Commission.
Figures obtained from PenCom show that the affected workers have received all the contributions in their Retirement Savings Accounts totalling N32.58bn and quit the Contributory Pension Scheme.
PenCom said the affected retirees had below N550,000 as the balance in their RSAs. As such, the pension regulator said the retired workers were not qualified to be enrolled in either of the two retirement options-annuity and programmed withdrawal.
The latest figure of 131,376 retirees indicates a 14.4 per cent increase from the 114,837 retired workers that withdrew N28.46bn as of the end of June 2020.
Between June 2020 and December 2021, PenCom said the affected retirees rose by 16,539 who withdrew N4.12bn.
The pension regulator also said some foreign nationals returning to their countries withdrew their savings before leaving.
According to the Pension Reform Act 2014, any worker with less than N550, 000 is expected to be given the total balance in the RSA by the PFA and subsequently allowed to quit the pension scheme.
PenCom decried the attitude of companies which deduct monthly contributions from their workers’ emolument but fail to remit such to the workers’ RSAs in their respective PFAs.
It said it maintained the services of recovery agents for the retrieval of outstanding pension contributions and penalties from defaulting employers.
However, the Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria said that “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.”
It added, “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.”
While explaining how the pension savings work, PenOp said, 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 N16m.
“This is the power of consistency and compounding which the current system provides, and which should be encouraged.”
PenOp explained that under the CPS, it is what the worker puts in plus investment returns that he gets out.