The National Pension Commission has released the sum of N3.1bn to 187 Retirement Savings Account owners as 25 per cent of their contributions for mortgage.

A mortgage is a type of loan used to purchase or maintain a home, land, or other types of real estate.

Last year, PenCom issued guidelines on accessing retirement savings account (RSA) balance towards payment of equity contribution for a residential mortgage.

The commission said many employees desire to own residential homes before exiting active employment adding that it had approved the usage of 25 per cent RSA balance for mortgage by contributors.

Speaking at the 2023 seminar for pensions correspondents with theme, “Transforming Service Delivery in the Pension Industry: Strategies for Improving Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction,” in Abuja, Director General, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, said effective regulatory oversight remained pivotal in maintaining transparency, fairness, and efficiency, which are the cornerstones of the pension system.

Represented by the commission’s Head, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Abdulqadir Dahiru, said that the Commission has recovered a total of N24.53 billion from 34 defaulting employers who failed to remit deducted pension contributions to their respective Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) as required by law.

The recoveries, she said, were made since the commencement of the recovery exercise in June 2012 to March 2023, adding that they comprised principal contributions which stood at N12.44 billion and penalties which amounted to N12.09 billion.

The DG noted that pension funds have been on the rise and now stands at N16.76 trillion as a result of concrete regulatory approach and supervision.

“PenCom’s proactive regulatory approach has strengthened the oversight and governance of pension funds, promoting transparency, accountability and safeguarding the interests of pension contributors.

“Consequently, Pension assets have risen by N1.77 trillion in the first half of 2023, from N14.99 trillion in December 2022 to N16.76 trillion at the end of June 2023. Membership also increased by 146,920 new contributors, from 9.86 members as of the end of 2022 to over 10 million members as of June 2023.

“The CPS has ensured that public and private sector workers can build retirement savings throughout their working lives, fostering financial security during their golden years,”

Speaking further, she said as part of capacity building efforts, the Commission is planning to establish a pension academy that will train stakeholders and other relevant partners on the activities and programmes of the sector.

Also in a presentation, the Chief Executive Officer Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOP), Oguche Aguda, in a paper titled “Improving Accessibility and Service Delivery in RSA Mortgage Financing” noted that Nigeria’s housing deficit grew from 7 million in 1991 to 28 million in 2023 which has made it difficult for government alone to cover the housing gap.