The National Pension Commission (PenCom) will commence the 2023 online verification and enrolment exercise for prospective retirees of Federal Government Treasury-Funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) who are due to retire in 2024.
The enrolment exercise will be held from 2 October to 31 December 2023.
To adapt to the evolving landscape of pension fund administration, PenCom embarked on a proactive journey to modernise and simplify the pension verification and enrolment process for prospective retirees. Recently, PenCom issued a revised guidance note to Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) on online enrolment to ensure a seamless transition into retirement for government employees.
Central to this exercise is the Online Enrolment Application, hosted on the PenCom website (www.pencom.gov.ng). This web-based application empowers prospective retirees with the tools to complete their enrolment process conveniently from the comfort of their homes.
The application comprises four distinct modules that collectively contribute to the comprehensive pension enrolment process: Retiree Registration, PFA Module, MDA Module, and PenCom Module.
Under the Retiree Registration Module, prospective retirees can register, scan, and upload all the necessary documents, ensuring the accuracy and completeness of their pension information.
This innovation drastically reduces the reliance on manual paperwork and minimises the risk of multiple RSA PINs. PFAs are vital in this process; therefore, they use the PFA Module for their part. The PFAs are responsible for verifying and enrolling prospective retirees, ensuring the submitted information is accurate and consistent.
PFAs also guide individuals throughout the online registration process when required. Similarly, the MDA Module enables Pension Desk Officers of MDAs to upload relevant information about prospective retirees, fostering transparency and collaboration between government entities and the pension administration system.
The PenCom Module serves as the final step, validating the records submitted by all parties to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the pension data, thereby adding an extra layer of scrutiny to prevent errors or fraudulent activities.
It is imperative to note that adopting a digital approach brings numerous benefits, with efficiency and transparency paramount among them. By streamlining the enrolment process, prospective retirees can complete their registration and document submission at their convenience, significantly reducing the need for physical visits and bureaucratic bottlenecks.
The outcome is timely budgetary provisions by the Federal Government for accrued pension liabilities and a smoother transition into retirement for workers.
The revised guidance note adheres to the legal framework provided by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) of 2014. Specifically, Section 15 of the PRA 2014 mandates the recognition of accrued pension entitlements. Section 39 establishes the Federal Government Retirement Bond Redemption Fund (RBBRF) and outlines PenCom’s role in assessing its adequacy against projected pension liabilities.
The online enrolment system aligns seamlessly with these provisions, ensuring compliance and enhancing accountability within the pension administration landscape.
The online enrolment process for 2023 consists of three distinct stages: Registration, Verification, and Enrolment. Prospective retirees can opt for the self-assisted registration or seek assistance from PFAs.
Self-assisted registration involves visiting the PenCom website, creating an account, and providing required information such as RSA PIN, NIN, personal details, and employment history. Scanned copies of necessary documents are uploaded to the system to ensure data accuracy.
During the verification stage, PFAs play a pivotal role. They meticulously crosscheck the information provided, ensuring alignment with the original or certified true copies of the required documents. PFAs also guarantee the completeness and accuracy of employment records, salary details, and relevant supporting documents.
In addition, PFAs ensure that the scanned documents match the hard copies submitted to them. The PFA takes a live photograph of the retiree and prints two copies of the enrolment slip for the signature of the retiree. The retiree retains one copy, while the PFA has the second copy.
The online enrolment considers the challenges faced by sick or incapacitated prospective retirees. In such cases, a Next of Kin (NOK) can register on their behalf, uploading the required documents and medical reports. PFAs conduct remote verification and enrolment, ensuring that the enrolment process remains accessible to all, regardless of their physical condition.
In conclusion, online verification and enrolment represent a remarkable leap forward in pension administration. By embracing technology, streamlining processes, and ensuring transparency, PenCom is simplifying the transition into retirement for government employees and setting a precedent for modern and efficient pension fund management.
As the digital era continues to reshape various sectors, Nigeria’s pension administration stands at the forefront of innovation, poised to deliver better services to workers and retirees. Prospective retirees of Federal Government Treasury Funded MDAs retiring in 2024 can look forward to a more streamlined and accessible enrolment process from 2 October to 31 December 2023.