National Pension Commission (PenCom) is working out a modality for contributors to use part of their funds as mortgage.
This is even as it recovered over N14.7 billion unremitted pension contributions this year from employers.
Speaking at the ongoing 50th Annual National Conference of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) in Abuja, the acting Director General of the Commission, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, said the modalities for the operationalisation of the mortgage was still being worked out because it involves the stakeholders in the mortgage industry.
Mrs. Dahir-Umar, who was represented by Mr Mohammed Sanni Mohammed said there is the need to protect the pension fund from being abused.
His words: “The National Pension Commission has already issued a guideline for that. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is involved because there is a need to incorporate a mortgage guarantee company. That is being pushed by the CBN. The Federal Mortgage Company is involved and the Mortgage Refinance Company is also involved in this arrangement.
“So, at the end of the day when the arrangements and the financing model is good to go, then it will be available to all contributors,” he assured.
On the recovery of unremitted N14.7 billion pension contributions, the Acting DG said that the Commission’s agents had to go after the employers to ensure that they comply.
“A company that is supposed to pay the pension contribution on behalf of the employees must pay also for the interest on non-remittance on time because if it had remitted such,the money would have been earning some income,” she argued.
Listing the benefits of retirement savings account, Umar, said: “The introduction of individualised retirement savings account makes it possible for individuals to own their own account and know exactly what is in the account and work towards building their retirement benefits. They know exactly how much is in their account and how much is available for them to access.
“This is also a convenient account because it is potable. Once a person opens that account he knows what is in the account and work towards building their retirement benefits.
“Once a person opens that account he moves around with it. Mobility of labour becomes possible. When you want to move to another employer you don’t have to begin to think of how you are going to get your benefits.
“So, this attracted the people to it. When you contribute, the contribution is exempted from tax. At accumulation level, it is also exempted from tax. At investment level, it is also same and ditto for pay-up level.So, people became attracted to it. After the 2014 amendment, it is now possible based on the law for people to access up to 25 percent of their contribution if they lose their job and could not secure another one after four months.
But if you eventually secure a job and you want to pay back it is left for you but if you don’t want to, you can continue your contribution,” he stated.