COVID-19: Nigerians Lose Jobs, Withdraw N30bn Pension Savings

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The number of citizens who withdrew funds from their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA), after losing their jobs, rose to 28,041 in the nine months to September 2021 from 26,458 in the same period of 2020.

Data from The National Pension Commission (PenCom) on the withdrawal of 25 percent of RSA balances showed that the workers withdrew N15.11bn from January to September 2021, compared to N14.91bn in the same period a year earlier.

The increase in the withdrawal of funds is due to the rise in job losses in the country as many companies closed shop during the pandemic.

They also decried the inability of many companies that are still struggling with the challenges of COVID-19 to regularly remit the monthly deductions from their workers’ emoluments into their respective RSAs.

According to figures from the commission, 8, 221 job losers withdrew N4.31bn in the first quarter of 2020 while 4,668 workers withdrew N2.25bn in Q2 2020. It added that 13,569 workers withdrew N8.1bn in Q3 2020.

The commission said between January and September 2021, 28,041 disengaged workers withdrew N15.11bn from their RSAs.

The report said during the first quarter of 2021, “The commission granted approval for the payment of N5.02bn to 10,619 RSA holders under the age of 50 years, who were disengaged from work and unable to secure jobs within four months.

It added that in the second quarter of 2021, “The commission approved the payment of N4.43bn to 7,906 RSA holders under the age of 50 years, who were disengaged from work and unable to secure jobs within four months.”

PenCom said it approved the payment of N5.66bn in Q3 2021 to 9,517 RSA holders under the age of 50 years, who were disengaged from work and unable to secure jobs within four months.

According to the Pension Reform Act 2014, employees who either left or lost their jobs and cannot get another paid employment after four months can access 25 percent of the balance in their Retirement Savings Accounts.

The Head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Mr. Peter Aghahowa, said workers who lost their jobs could withdraw a quarter of the savings in their RSAs to cushion their hardship after four months of job loss.

The commission said as part of efforts to boost compliance, it carried out sensitization workshops, capacity-building programs, and stakeholder engagement meetings in Q3 2021.

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