Pension contributors withdraw N14.79b amid rising job losses

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RECORDS from National Pension Commission show that about 26,458 workers who lost their jobs since the pandemic have started taking its toll on the economy after they withdrew N14.79 billion from their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) in 10 months.

Figures obtained from the quarterly accounts of PenCom showed a growing figure of job losers in the third quarters of  2020.

According to the Pension Reform Act 2014, a worker who loses his job can withdraw 25 per cent of his RSA after waiting for four months and does not get another paid job.

“During the quarter under review, the commission granted approval for the payment of N4.31 billion to 8,221 RSA holders who were under the age of 50 and were disengaged from work but unable to secure another job within four months of disengagement.

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Approval was granted for payment of N2.56 billion to 4,668 RSA holders who were under the age of 50 and were disengaged from work but unable to secure another job within four months of disengagement during the second quarter. During third quartre 2020, the commission granted approval for the payment of N8.1 billion to 13,569 RSA holders who were under the age of 50 and were disengaged from work but unable to secure jobs within four months of disengagement,” PenCom said in its first quarter report.

PenCom Head of Corporate Communications, Peter Aghahowa, said workers who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic would be able to get a quarter of the savings in their RSAs to cushion their hardship after four months of job loss.

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According to him, the contributory pension was designed to allow access to 25 per cent of retirement savings balance in a situation whereby you lose your job.

“So if you lose your job, after four months you can access 25 per cent of your RSA contribution. But we have observed increase in job loss due to the effect of the pandemic,” Aghahowa said.

It will be recalled that PenCom revealed that despite the effect of COVID-19 on the economy, the total assets under Contributory Pension Scheme rose to N11.35 trillion as of the end of August.

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