8,651 Nigerians withdraw N14.2 billion from pension funds amid rising job losses

Assumpta Udochukwu
By Assumpta Udochukwu 4 Min Read

In a revealing first-quarter report for 2024, the National Pension Commission (PEN-Com) has shed light on the growing financial strain faced by Nigerian workers amid a spike in job losses. According to the report, a significant number of Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders have turned to their pension funds for financial relief, resulting in a substantial withdrawal of N14.2 billion.

The report reveals that 8,702 Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders requested access to 25% of their RSA balances because of temporary loss of employment. Of these, 8,651 requests were approved, while 51 were rejected because the applicants were over 50.

This wave of withdrawals has resulted in the approval of N14.2 billion for 8,651 RSA holders under the age of 50. The breakdown shows a stark difference between the private and public sectors, with 8,167 approved applicants coming from the private sector, and only 484 from the public sector. This disparity highlights the significant impact of job losses on the private sector workforce.

Analysis of the Withdrawal Data

The approved sum of N14,203.04 million signifies a substantial financial movement within Nigeria’s pension system, reflecting the economic strain faced by many Nigerians. The statistics show that the private sector is bearing the brunt of the job losses, with over 94% of the approved applicants coming from this sector.

  • Total Requests: 8,702
  • Approved Requests: 8,651
  • Rejected Requests: 51 (because of age being above 50 years)
  • Private Sector Approvals: 8,167
  • Public Sector Approvals: 484
  • Total Approved Amount: N14,203.04 million

The rejection of 51 requests highlights a critical policy in Nigeria’s pension system that restricts access to these funds for individuals over 50, emphasizing the system’s focus on long-term financial security rather than immediate liquidity for older citizens.

Image source: Pension Policy International

Implications and Economic Context

This trend of withdrawals could have several implications for Nigeria’s economy and its pension fund management:

  1. Economic Strain: The high number of withdrawal requests points to widespread economic difficulties, particularly in the private sector. This could be indicative of broader economic challenges such as business closures, downsizing, or other factors leading to job losses.
  2. Pension Fund Stability: The substantial withdrawal amount raises concerns about the long-term stability and sustainability of pension funds if such trends continue. Continuous withdrawals could deplete the funds meant for retirees, posing future risks.
  3. Labour Market: It reflects the ongoing challenges in the labor market, where job security is becoming increasingly precarious. Moreover, the strain on pension funds could have long-term repercussions for the financial well-being of workers who are forced to dip into their retirement savings prematurely.

Looking Ahead

With the private sector showing a disproportionate impact on job losses, there may be a need for targeted economic policies to support businesses and prevent further job losses. Additionally, the pension fund’s management might require adaptive strategies to ensure that the system remains robust and capable of fulfilling its role for future retirees.

The PEN-Com 2024 Q1 report is a wake-up call to the urgent need for comprehensive economic support and the prudent management of pension resources to safeguard the financial futures of Nigerian workers.

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Assumpta Udochukwu
Posted by Assumpta Udochukwu
Assumpta is a Professional Accountant, Brand Strategist, Writer and Digital Data Storyteller with extensive experience in Finance, Digital Marketing and Business Administration. She is the Chief Analyst and Editor at Trendswatch.co, she is passionate about telling data stories in an entertaining and engaging manner.
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