By Rosemary Onuoha
As the gale of job losses continue due to weak economy, a total of 10,733 Retirement Savings Account, RSA, holders who lost their jobs were paid the sum of N4.5 billion as 25 percent of their pension contributions in the first quarter of 2019.
This is against a total of 13,609 RSA holders who were paid the sum of N5.14 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018.
A recent report released by the National Pension Commission, PenCom, which gave the statistics, stated, “Approval was granted for payment of N4.51 billion to 10,733 RSA holders who were under the age of 50 years and were disengaged from work and unable to secure another job within four months of disengagement.
“The cumulative total number of RSA holders who were paid benefits for temporary loss of job was 313,468 and were paid a total of N107.93 billion being 25 percent of the balances of their RSAs as prescribed by the Pension Reform Act 2014.
“A further analysis showed that the private sector accounted for 95.38 percent of those who benefitted from these payments while the public sector accounted for 4.62 percent.”
PenCom also stated that total value of pension fund assets based on unaudited valuation reports grew from N8.64 trillion as at the end of December 2018 to N9.03 trillion as at March, 2019, representing a growth of 4.55 percent.
“The growth indicates an increase in the quarterly growth rate compared to the 3.49 percent for the previous quarter,” the report added.
PenCom also said that the total number of retirees currently receiving their pensions under the Programmed Withdrawal (PW) contracts increased by 6.87 percent from 200,747 as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 to 214,538 as at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
“A sectorial breakdown shows that 65.75 percent of those that received pension under the PW were from the public sector while retirees from the private sector accounted for the remaining 34.25 percent.
“During the quarter under review, the sum of N39.40 billion was paid to 13,791 retirees as lump sum and N522.48 million as monthly programmed withdrawals. From inception to date, the sum of N559.48 billion has been paid as lump sum and the monthly Programmed Withdrawals amounted to N9.14 billion.
“The Commission approved a total of 4,264 applications for retirement under life annuity during the quarter, bringing the total number of retirees receiving their retirement benefits through the annuity plan to 65,916 from inception. The 4,264 retirees received N9.83 billion as lump sum payment and paid premium of N24.81 billion to insurance companies and monthly annuity of N257.26 million. This resulted in total lumps sum payment of N86.60 billion, premium of N353.69 billion and monthly annuity payments of N3.52 billion as at the end of first quarter, 2019,” the report stated.