Vanguard (Lagos)

5 February 2013

Nigeria: Pensioners Do Not Come for Their Benefits - President PFA

UN accessed pension benefits under the care of Pension Fund Operators, PFAs, have continued to grow as contributors to the scheme gradually retire.

President of the Pension Fund Operators, Mr. Dave Uduanu, who disclosed this, said that some retirees have failed to collect their benefits from their PFAs.

Accordingly, pension operators have intensified efforts to locate the retirees and their families.

Uduanu said that operators would continue to educate the public, adding that the challenge cannot be tackled overnight.

Dauda Ahmed of Corporate Strategy Unit, National Pension Commission (PenCom), said the Commission has directed PFAs to advertise the names of affected retirees in national dailies after a waiting period of six months.

He noted that PFAs have also been directed to visit the last place of employment or address of the retirees to obtain any available contact information or those of their next-of kin in an effort to trace them and ensure that outstanding benefits are processed for payment.

He said: "In effect, we wish to confirm that there are no "unclaimed pensions" with PFAs in the real sense of it, but possible issues of temporary delay in processing the withdrawal of pensions/terminal benefits due mainly to loss of contact.

"The balance in the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) of a retiree comprises of the proceeds of his retirement bond, his contributions from July, 2004 to month of retirement and the investment income. At the point of retirement, the retiree is expected to submit necessary documents to, and discuss with the PFA on his preferred mode of withdrawal of his pensions. The retiree has the option of either Programmed Withdrawal (PW) which provides pension over the expected lifespan through the PFA or purchase of annuity from an insurance company which ensures payment of pension for life.

"However, these payments can only be made after the Commission had granted approval of the agreement entered into by the retiree with his Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) regarding the mode of withdrawal of his benefit.

"Nevertheless, there could be delays by retirees or next of kin (NOK) in the case of death benefits in accessing retirement or terminal benefits, but not "unclaimed pensions". Such delays in accessing retirement or terminal benefits can be attributed mainly to the inability of the PFA to contact the retiree who may have retired to his village without leaving an active contact address with the PFA or identify the NOK in the case of a deceased employee."

He urged the public to always liaise with pension operators to sort out issues, adding that the new pension scheme is poised to provide comfortable life style for retirees.'

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