The National Pension Commission on Thursday said the circular on Voluntary Contributions it recently issued was to curb the high rate of incessant withdrawals by contributors.

The Acting Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umaru, made the assertion at the 2018 Conference of National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents in Lagos on Thursday.

Dahir-Umaru noted that the main thrust of the circular, released by the commission in November 2017 states inter alia: “That 50 per cent of the VCs can be withdrawn once in every two years”.

She added: “Also, every subsequent withdrawals will be on incremental contributions from the last withdrawal. Furthermore, the remaining 50 per cent of the VCs shall be domiciled for augumenting pensions at old age.

“The circular issued was necessitated by the observed incidences of high rates of withdrawals from VCs by contributors.

“The incessant and high withdrawals negated the main purpose of using such contributions to augment pensions at old age.’’

Dahir-Umaru said that the commission deemed it fit to ensure strict adherence to Anti-Money Laundering provisions and relevant tax laws.

The acting director-general, represented by the Head, Contribution Bond Redemption Department, Mr Olulana Loyinmi, said the number of total pension contributors increased by 312, 291 from January 2018.

The number, she said, increased from 7.89 million in December 2017 to 8.14 million as at June 2018.

She noted that the net assets value of pension had hit N8.23 trillion as at June 2018.

She said: “This represents an increase of N716.94 billion up from the value of N7.52 trillion as at December 2017.

“The increase is attributed to new contributions received, interest on fixed income securities and net gains on equity and mutual fund investments.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the NAIPCO conference is: “The Role of Stakeholders in Developing Insurance and Pension Sector’’ and that more than 100 insurance and pension stakeholders attended.

They participants include National Union of Road Transport Workers, Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Federal Road Safety Commission, insurance and pension industry players.

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