National Pension Commission (PenCom) has revealed a plan to reduce housing deficit of about 28 million units through its new guideline, which allows use of 25 per cent Retirement Savings Account (RSA) balance to assess residential mortgages.
The commission also said that out of 10 million contributors to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), only 187 RSA holders have been approved N3.1 billion for residential mortgages, even as the commission makes efforts to provide a better retirement for contributors.
The arrangement was designed to facilitate home ownership by RSA holders, deepen the mortgage sector through provision of sustainable long-term finance, and spur socio-economic development by narrowing the nation’s lingering housing deficit.
Chief Executive Officer, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOP), Agudah Oguche, said the commission had directed Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to disburse N3.1 billion to 187 RSA holders since the end of July 2023.
He spoke at the 2023 Journalists Conference, with the theme, ‘Transforming Service Delivery in the Pension Industry: Strategies for Improving Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction’.
Director General of PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, who also spoke on the commission’s plan to provide better service to RSA holders, said the essence of the new plan is to protect retirees, contributors’ rights, quality service delivery, continued safety of pension assets and consistent and effective service delivery.
Dahir-Umar, who was represented by Head of Corporate Communication, Abdulkadir Dabir, said the new plan would highlight the commission’s latest initiatives to elevate customer service and engender more confidence in the pension industry.
“Creating the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) underscores PenCom’s determination to prioritise service delivery and provide RSA holders with the care and attention they rightfully deserve,” she said.
The Director General noted that oversight would explore how regulatory measures can effectively bolster quality of services provided. According to her, “regulatory oversight is pivotal in maintaining transparency, fairness and efficiency, which are cornerstones of our pension system.”
She maintained that PenCom’s proactive regulatory approach has strengthened oversight and governance of pension funds, promoting transparency, accountability, while safeguarding the interests of contributors.
“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,” Dahir-Umar added.