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Consistent Rise in Unemployment Forced Pension Account Holders to Withdraw N14.79 Billion in 10 Months

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The rising unemployment number due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many pension account holders to start withdrawing part of the funds.

According to the report from the National Pension Commission, it was revealed that pension account holders who lost their jobs have continuously approached their Pension Funds Administrators to withdraw parts of their funds from their Retirement Savings Accounts.

The Pension Reform Act 2014, allows a worker who lost his job to access 25 percent of his RSA if the individual fails to get another paid job after four months.

In the first-quarter report, PenCom said, “During the quarter under review, the commission granted approval for the payment of N4.31bn to 8,221 RSA holders who were under the age of 50 years and were disengaged from work but unable to secure another job within four months of disengagement”.

The second-quarter report shows that the commission granted another approval for payment of N2.56bn to 4,668 RSA holders who were under the age of 50 years and were disengaged from work but unable to secure another job within four months of disengagement.

The commission third-quarter report further explained that “During third quarter 2020, the commission granted approval for the payment of N8.1bn to 13,569 RSA holders who were under the age of 50 years and were disengaged from work but unable to secure jobs within four months of disengagement”.

Mr. Peter Aghaowa, the Head of Corporate Communications, PenCom, said that in order to lessen the hardship faced by workers who lost their jobs as a result of the negative impact of the global health pandemic, an account holder who lost his/her job would be granted approval to withdraw a quarter of the savings in their Retirement Savings Accounts if he/she fails to secure a paid job after four months.

Mr. Peter said, “The contributory pension was designed to allow access to 25 percent of retirement savings balance in a situation whereby you lose your job. “So if you lose your job, after four months you can access 25 percent of your RSA contribution”.

Following the launching of the Transfer window for RSA account holders, it was revealed that over 2,100 account holders have submitted applications to change their Pension Fund Administrators. This happened less than two weeks after the transfer window was officially opened on November 16, 2020.

Aghahowa explained that this new development would enhance competition and improve service delivery in the pension industry.

He also said that RSA account holders will now have the right to determine the PFAs that will manage their account and also change to another pension company at most ones in a year

Mr. Polycarp Anyanwu, Head of ICT at PenCom said, “Over 2,100 applications were submitted and received by the commission between 16th and 30th of November, 2020.”

He also noted that most RSA account holders were not satisfied with the current service of their PFAs and hence the need to change to a better one.

Mr. Wale Odutola, the President of Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, who is also the managing director/Chief Executive Officer, ARM Pension PFA, said that pension fund operators had executed the necessary requirement by upgrading their IT systems to enhance seamless pension account transfer.

He further said that the principal aim is to grow the pension industry, ensure that pension funds have a bigger impact on the economy, and give good investment returns to stakeholders.

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Former First Bank Chairman, Ibukun Awosika Joins Binance Advisory Board

A former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika has been appointed to the Binance Advisory Board

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A former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika has been appointed to the Binance Advisory Board. 

Investors King learnt that one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange companies, Binance, has appointed Ibukun Awosika on its advisory board. Binance is believed to be the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. 

The former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria was selected among other eminent people which include Max Bacus Former U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Hyung-Rin Bang, advisor of the Korea Presidential Committee; Bruno Bézard, managing partner at Cathay Capital, former economic advisor to the French Prime Minister and ex-head of the French Treasury; Henrique de Campos Meirelles. 

The list also includes a former president of the Central Bank of Brazil; Leslie Maasdorp, the chief financial officer of the New Development Bank; Adalberto Palma, former senior advisor to the President of Mexico; Christin Schäfer, founder of ACS Plus; Ed Vaizey, a member of the UK House of Lords; David Wright, chair of Eurofi. 

The appointment of the advisory board will help the Binance exchange to break new boundaries in the face of crypto regulation challenges. 

It should be recalled that in June 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered Binance to halt all UK-regulated activity over worries about weak consumer protection. Similarly, in May 2021, Bloomberg News reported that Binance is being investigated by the United States Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service for money laundering and tax evasion. 

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also banned cryptocurrency-related transactions in Nigeria. In a circular released in February 2021, the Central bank reaffirm a 2017 directive to financial institutions to block any account that transacts in cryptocurrency. 

However, despite the overwhelming opposition to cryptocurrency, millions of retail investors keep embracing it, especially in West Africa. 

In July 2022, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) rated the West African country third among countries with the highest number of cryptocurrency holders in Africa. The report also stated that more than 13 million Nigerians are in possession of digital assets

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Hundreds of MSMEs And Underserved Communities to Benefit From Microsoft And ICE Power Project

Microsoft and ICE Commercial Power have entered a partnership agreement to power hundreds of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and underserved communities. 

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Microsoft and ICE Commercial Power have entered a partnership agreement to power hundreds of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and underserved communities. 

ICE is a Nigeria-based affordable and renewable energy provider that deploys microgrids to help small and medium businesses which have limited or no access to power supply. 

In a pilot programme, ICE had earlier deployed 20 solar microgrids to connect about 170 underserved small businesses across three communities in Nigeria. The pilot program was undertaken in Edo, Delta and Ondo States.

In a statement released by the company, ICE Commercial Power noted that it understood the electricity challenges of small businesses and underserved communities in Nigeria, especially at a time when the cost of energy is exorbitantly high. 

Investors King earlier reported that because of the hike in the price of diesel, the cost of doing business in Nigeria has increased by more than 50 percent in 2022. This has adversely impacted the profitability of many businesses. 

According to ICE Commercial Power, “Many of Nigeria’s SMEs rely on using generators to provide power, but these machines can be unreliable, and the fuel and maintenance costs are high”.

“The African Development Bank noted that Nigerians spend about $14bn on generators and fuel yearly in order to avoid crippling downtime for their businesses.

“SMEs play a vital role in driving economic growth and job creation on the continent. Connecting SMEs to alternative energy sources helps to minimise downtime and maximise productivity.” the statement read. 

ICE Commercial Power further stated that the power project in partnership with Microsoft will connect businesses and underserved communities to reliable and affordable clean energy. 

The company also declares that users will be able to monitor their energy usage online to have significant control over their energy consumption.

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Jumia Partners With Coca-Cola to Improve Customers Experience

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has partnered with Coca-Cola Africa to offer Coca-Cola products to consumers in the comfort of their homes. 

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Coca-cola - Investors King

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has partnered with Coca-Cola Africa to offer Coca-Cola products to consumers in the comfort of their homes. 

The partnership will enable Jumia to reach out to millions of Coca-Cola customers through the Jumia platform.

Both wholesale and retail consumers can get the products at an affordable price and at the fastest delivery time. 

According to Romain Christodoulou, Jumia’s Chief Commercial Officer, “We are happy to partner with Coca-Cola to meet consumer demand for everyday products at the fastest delivery time and at affordable prices.

“Coming after the launch of our Quick Commerce stores, we are happy to let our consumers know that they can expect their delivery of beverages in under 20 minutes, offering convenience at its best,”

Similarly, Coca-Cola believes the partnership will bring its products closer to the consumer, especially those who prefer to shop online. 

The company’s Vice President for Customer and Commercial Leadership, Minas Vourodimos stated that Coca-Cola is pleased with its partnership with Jumia which will make Coca-Cola directly available to consumers in their homes. 

“Through this, we will be offering an alternative for easy and fast access to Coca-Cola brands across several beverage categories”. She added.

Investors King gathered that the Jumia and Coca-Cola partnership is one of the many strategic partnerships the African e-commerce giant has made in the last nine months. 

It could be recalled that early this month, Jumia partnered with Ziplan to start using drones for delivery services. This will help Jumia to reach rural and remote areas in Africa which could be hard or impossible to reach through conventional methods.

Subsequently, shopping on Jumia will be faster, more convenient, sustainable and accessible.

When the Jumia drone delivery service becomes operational, it will give Jumia the leverage to better serve its customers and subsequently increase the company’s revenue.

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