Pension: 92,576 retirees get N25bn monthly

About 92,567 retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme  are getting average monthly pensions of N25bn, the National Pension Commission has said.

The latest statistics from the National Pension Commission showed that as at the end of February, 2014, the average monthly pension paid by Pension Funds Administrators and insurance firms stood at N25bn.

These retirees are being paid their monthly pensions by 20 PFAs and 20 insurance firms, according to the statistics obtained by our correspondent.

PenCom disclosed that so far, 84,097 pensioners that opted for programmed withdrawal, which is being paid by the PFAs, got the  lump sum of N210.7bn, while 8,479 pensioners that opted for annuity got N19.5bn.

According to the commission, the retirees that opted for programmed withdrawal will be paid over an expected life span, while those on annuity will be paid for life.

The Acting Director-General, PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, said that there was a need for the PFAs to continue to create awareness on the CPS.

She said the retirees had a right to choose the retirement option they wanted.

On the rights of the retirees, Anohu-Amazu said they could transfer their retirement savings account from one PFA to another when the window of transfer opens.

According to her, the PFAs have the obligation to send periodic statements of account to the contributors and pay the retirees pensions as at when due by direct payment to their bank accounts.

For any retiree that wants to take the annuity, the PenCom boss explained that the person would need to provide provisional agreement from a life insurance company to the PFA for the purchase of annuity.

Other things the retiree would needed to provide, she explained, included contact address after retirement; details of next of kin; details of bank account for receiving retirement benefits; and other documents required by the PFA.

She pointed out the roles of the PFAs include filing requests with the commission for any retiree changing from annuity; issuing payment instructions to the Pension Fund Custodian for lump sums and instructing the PFC to effect payment of annuity premium.

Anohu-Amazu said the commission provided the PFAs with a computation model for calculating programmed withdrawal and investment guidelines for active member fund and retiree funds.

She added that the commission issued general regulations and guidelines to the PFAs and approved benefits withdrawal arrangements or change of PFA.

According to her, PenCom also monitors PFAs for compliance, regulates and supervises the operators to ensure accurate, timely payment of retirees funds as at when due.

The regulator stated that as part of efforts to effectively deliver its mandate with respect to efficient administration of retirement and terminal benefits, PenCom organised retirees forums for existing retirees and pre-retirement workshops for prospective retirees.

She explained that it would be an annual event aimed at repositioning the commission to serve retirees and potential retirees better.

The workshop, she added, aimed to bridge the knowledge gap on retirement requirements among intending retirees on preparation and documentation expected, in line with the regulation of the administration of retirement and terminal benefits and guidelines on annuity.

Anohu-Amazu expressed worry about the limited public awareness of the workings of the CPS.

She also observed that there was inadequate communication enlightenment of RSA holders by the PFAs.

“We will continue to increase awareness on the CPS, and ensure commitment to establishing strong corporate governance in the industry and improve quality of service delivery,” she said.

The regulator said the computation of benefits under the old pension scheme was different from the new scheme.

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