How Nigerians in Diaspora Can Join Pension Scheme At Home
London, July 27, 2019 (AltAfrica)- The diaspora of developing countries can be a potent force for development for their countries of origin, through remittances, but also, importantly, through pension contributions to guarantee a better life for themselves back home for some of them willing to return home after retirement in their respective foreign countries of residence
For Nigerians in diaspora, one key objective of the guidelines on cross-border arrangement (CBA) is to seek to encourage the participation of Nigerians abroad in the contributory pension scheme and assist them to save in Nigeria towards their old age and subsequent return
Consequently, any Nigerian working abroad, who is interested in joining the new pension scheme, shall be allowed to participate by making voluntary contributions.
The Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 expanded coverage of the CPS to the self-employed including diaspora contribution and persons working in organizations with less than 3 employees.
Recently, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) outlined what Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) shall obtain as parts of documentation for the Retirement Saving Account (RSA) registration of Micro Pension Plan (MPP) and Cross border contributors.
PenCom in its recently released revised guidelines for retirement saving account registration template, mandated PFAs to obtain evidence of membership in a registered association or trade union or Certificate of Business Registration, in the case of self-employed persons; from micro pension plan contributor.
Other requirements according to the pension industry regulator include, the following means of identification – National Identity Card, International Passport, Driver’s License or Permanent Voters Card and additional documentation as may be specified from time to time by the Commission.
PenCom urged PFAs to sight the original documents of the photocopies provided by the contributor to ensure that the photocopies are authentic.
PFAs, were also mandated to ensure that all documents provided are stamped, signed, and dated by authorized PFA personnel. They were also enjoined to obtain one recent passport sized photograph of the applicant/RSA holder, taken against a white background, with the name of the employee written at the back and the passport photograph shall meet the required specifications.
For finger-impaired individuals who cannot sign the RSA registration forms, PFAs shall provide the additional documents such as letter of indemnity from the PFA, duly signed by two authorized signatories, confirming that the individual is finger impaired. Photograph of the individual showing the missing finger(s) or hand(s), where the individual is an amputee and other additional documents as may be required by the Commission from time to time to support the finger-impaired registration status.
For cross border (diaspora) contributors, PFAs were mandated to obtain copy of a valid identification and such identification may be either the National Identity, the National Driver’s License, the Permanent Voters Card (PVC), or the data page of the International Passport.
Other document are, evidence of nationality, e.g. copy of data page of the International Passport (for non-Nigerians), copy of Staff Identity (where available) and copy of evidence of employment in host country.
PFAs are to also obtain copy of evidence of remuneration (i.e. pay advice), where applicable; copy of evidence of work permit in host country; letter of undertaking to bear exchange rate fluctuations and other additional documentation as may be specified by the Commission from time to time.
“PFAs shall accept notarized copies of the documents or copies attested by Nigerian Embassies abroad to ensure that the copies are authentic.
“PFAs shall ensure that an authorized personnel of the PFA stamps, signs and dates the photocopies of all original documents sighted as required.
“PFAs shall obtain one (1) recent passport sized photograph of the applicant/RSA holder, taken against a white background, with the name of the employee written at the back. The passport photograph shall meet the required specifications,” PenCom stated.
For finger-impaired individuals who cannot sign the RSA Registration Forms, PFAs were urged to shall provide additional documents such as letter of indemnity from the PFA, duly signed by two authorized signatories, confirming that the individual is finger impaired. Photograph of the individual showing the missing finger(s) or hand(s), where the individual is an amputee and other additional documents as may be required by the Commission from time to time to support the finger-impaired registration status.
The Acting Director-General, PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, posited that the micro pension product is flexible with respect to contribution amount and the channel of remittance of contributions to the respective pension accounts, stressing that access to accumulated contributions is also flexible, seamless and facilitated by technology through varied payment system platforms.
She noted that PenCom had extensively engaged all relevant stakeholders and obtained their inputs before the product was developed to suit their requirements.
According to her, a prospective Micro Pension contributor is required to open a RSA by completing a physical or electronic registration form with a Pension Funds Administrator (PFA) of his/her choice, and the contributors may make contributions daily, weekly, monthly or as may be convenient to them.
She stated that every contribution shall be split into two, comprising 40 per cent for contingent withdrawal and 60 per cent for retirement benefits, adding that the contributor may, based on his/her needs, periodically withdraw the total or part of the balance of the contingent portion of his/her RSA, including all accrued investment income thereto.
The contributor, she said may also choose to convert the contingent portion of the contributions to the retirement benefits portion and the remaining balance in the RSA shall be available to the contributor upon retirement or attaining the age of 50 year