The National Pension Commission (PenCom) and Pension Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) have specified conditions for accessing equity contributions for the acquisition of residential mortgage funds, saying the accounts must be run for 60 months.

The industry stakeholders, at a workshop organised by PenOp for journalists in Lagos with the theme, ‘Pension: an opportunity to own your own home, x-ray of the new RSA arrangement on home ownership’, explained other conditions RSA holders must meet to access their balance for mortgage acquisition.

The Head of Investment Department, PenCom, Ibrahim Kangiwa, said contributors must have contributed for five years to access the funds.

According to him, the same applied to the contributors under the Micro Pension Plan (MPP), adding that married couples, who individually meet the criteria, are also eligible.

Kangiwa put the maximum allowed at 25 per cent of the RSA balance, noting that “where 25 per cent of RSA balance is more than equity contribution, the RSA holder could only access the amount equivalent to equity contribution required.

He said: “Where 25 per cent is not sufficient for equity contribution, RSA holders may utilise voluntary contribution (VC) in line with the VC guidelines.

“Where 25 per cent is not sufficient for equity contribution, micro pension (MP) contributors may utilise the contingency portion in line with MP guidelines.

“Where 25 per cent is insufficient as an equity contribution, the RSA holder shall deposit the difference with the mortgage lender,” Kangiwa explained.

Those exempted from this initiative, according to him, include RSA holders that have less than three years to retire, existing retirees on CPS, exempted persons under the PRA 2014 and RSA holders who do not have both employer’s and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months.

He said that equity contribution was not for refinancing an existing mortgage, outright purchase of property and purchase of land, adding that the property shall be for residential purposes only.

Kangiwa said the objective of the initiative was to provide housing for first-time homeowners and improve the standard of living of RSA holders.

Also speaking at the programme, President, PenOp/Managing Director, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Olumide Oyetan, stressed the need for stakeholders to work together to ensure the successful implementation of the guidelines. He said the successful implementation of the initiative would improve Nigeria’s welfare.