By Henry Uche

National Pension Commission (PenCom) recently revealed 501,807 workers who left their paid employment withrew a quarter of the balance in their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA) with their Pension Fund Administrators totalling N238.192bn.

Pencom disclosed this in the 2024 first quarter report on ‘Withdrawal or 25 Percent from RSA Balances’.

According to the report, the workers included those that were sacked and those who voluntarily resigned their jobs and did not get another paid job after four months.

Pension regulatory body stated that, 8,651 contributors withdrew N14.203bn from their RSAs in the first quarter of 2024, while 493,156 contributors withdrew N223.989bn from inception of the scheme till end of December, 2023.

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The report stated, “A total of 8,702 RSA holders requested to access 25 per cent of their RSA balances due to temporary loss of employment. Out of that, 8,651 RSA holders’ requests were approved, while fifty-one (51) were rejected because their ages were above 50 years.

“Out of the 8,651 applicants whose benefits were approved, 8,167 were from the private sector, while the remaining 484 were from the public sector. The sum of N14.203bn was approved for the 8,651 RSA holders under the age of 50 years.”

The Pension Reform Act 2014 states that workers can access 25 per cent of their RSAs upon job loss.

Section 7 (2) of the ‘Revised Regulation on the Administration Of Retirement and Terminal Benefits’ states that, “Where an employee voluntarily retires, disengages or is disengaged from employment as provided for under section 16 (2) and (5) of PRA 2014, the employee may with the approval of the Commission, withdraw an amount of money not exceeding 25 percent of the total amount credited to his RSA, provided that such withdrawals shall only be made after four months of such retirement or cessation of employment and the employee does not secure another employment.”

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