In yet another significant milestone, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) has automated the pre-retirement Verification and enrolment exercise, through the design and development of an online enrolment application with the capability to register, verify and enrol the prospective retirees without having to travel for the exercise.
Since her assumption of leadership, the Director General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, has prioritized Information Technology as a key enabler of the commission’s transformation initiatives. This has resulted in a streak of in house development of required Computer Applications, including the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS) for seamless RSA registrations and the Retirement Savings Account Transfer System (RTS) for transfer of RSAs from PFA to another.
The transition to retirement for employees of Treasury funded Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) begins with participation in the Annual Pre-retirement Verification and Enrolment Exercise by PenCom. The exercise is conducted in order to determine the accrued pension liability for budgetary provision to be made by the Federal Government, towards payment to the retirees in the subsequent year when they retire. This is in line with the provisions of section 15 of the PRA 2014, which requires that the accrued entitlement of any employee under the Defined Benefit Scheme who migrated to the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), be recognized by a Bond which shall be redeemed into the Retirement Savings Account (RSA).
The annual enrolment exercise by the Commission are usually conducted at selected centres in the six geo-political zones of the country. Consequently, prospective retirees were required to travel to the nearest Enrolment Centre to be verified and enrolled.
There is no gainsaying that the exercise was a bit cumbersome for the prospective retirees who had to bear the cost of travelling, amidst other inconveniences. Although, PenCom has been working towards automating the enrolment process for the convenience of the prospective retirees, the emergence of the COVID 19 Pandemic in early 2020 provided more impetus.
Indeed, the Pandemic has engendered socio-economic disruptions of the entire global order, chief of which was the restriction of mass gatherings. The resultant effect was the non-conduct of the annual pre-retirement enrolment exercise in the year 2020. The Commission’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of retirees was the motivation in redoubling efforts at ensuring that the lofty goal of automating the enrolment process was attained.
The Enrolment Application would be hosted on the Commission’s website https://enrol.pencom.gov.ng/enrol/ where prospective retirees would log on to register and complete their biometric and employment details. The Application, which would be easily accessed through mobile phones or computer systems, has four (4) modules namely:
i) Retiree Registration Module: allows the prospective retirees to register their Bio-data, employment details and upload the required supporting documents of the employment records;
ii) Pension Fund Administration Module: for verification and enrolment of the prospective retirees as well as submission of reports to the Commission;
iii) Ministries, Departments and Agencies Module: to enable the MDAs upload the list of potential retirees (their bio-data and complete employment details) from the respective MDA;
iv) PenCom Module: for validation of records submitted by the Retirees, MDAs and PFAs, which would enable the accurate computation of the accrued pension liability.
Preparatory to the official deployment of the Application for use by the prospective retirees, PenCom is to ensure an adequate enlightenment of all stakeholders. In this wise, the Commission recognizes the vital role of MDAs, through their Pension Desk Officers (PDOs) in sensitizing and assisting retirees to undergo the online verification and enrolment.
Consequently, a Workshop has been organized for PDOs of all FGN Treasury-Funded MDAS, to expose them to the Enrolment Application and procedures for the verification of prospective retirees. The Workshop, which commenced on 7 June, 2021 in Lagos, is also scheduled to hold at Kano, Enugu, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Gombe and Ilorin. It aims to equip the PDOS with the requisite knowledge on how to guide prospective retirees to complete their information accurately on the Enrollment Application. In addition, they will also be adequately informed about the role of MDAs in uploading a list of prospective retirees onto the Application, amongst others.
In the Part 2 of this piece, we will examine the detailed processes on the Enrolment Application, including an elaboration of the role of the prospective retirees, PFAS and MDAS respectively.
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