NSITF urges contributors of defunct NPF to approach Trustfund for documentation
The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), has appealed to contributors to the defunct National Provident Fund (NPF), and NSITF contributory pension scheme to approach Trustfund Pensions Limited, for transfer of such fund into an existing individual Retirement Saving Account (PFA), with their Pension Fund Administrator (PFA).
The Managing Director of the Fund, Adebayo Somefun, explained in Abuja, that the entire N54 billion retirement fund contributed by the private sector had since been moved to Trustfund since 2006, following the commencement of the contributory pension scheme in 2004.
He explained: “The defunct NSITF pension scheme was established to manage pension that was contributed by the private sector. The scheme ran from 1994 to 2004, when the Pension Reform Act came into existence. Section 42 of the Contributory Pension Reform Act 2004 empowered the NSITF to transfer all its pension assets and liabilities to a pension fund administrator to be established by the NSITF and all the pensioners’ assets are to be taken over by that PFA. It meant that the pension asset that the NSITF was managing up to 2004 was transferred to the new PFA.
“In total, NSITF transferred about N54 billion to the new company called, Trustfund Pensions Limited, which was established in 2004. The assets were transferred under the supervision of the National Pension Commission because Pencom had to be the intermediary that has to confirm and verify that those assets actually exist before they were subsequently transferred to Trustfund.
“All these transfers happened between 2005 and 2006. Indeed, that was a prerequisite for Trustfund to get an operational license. The provision in the Pension Reform Act was that Trustfund would hold on to that fund for five years before individual owners of the contribution will have access to it in order to transfer them to their RSA. The idea was that five years would give Trustfund the ability to gather all funds from NSITF into the liquid format, because some of them were physical assets that needed to be disposed of, and then turned into cash.”
However, Somefun added that “Before Trustfund can transfer the fund, the owners would have to come to Trustfund to fill an NSITF transfer form, which after Trustfund has verified the claim, will send such form to Pencom for approval. If the owners of the fund do not come forward, there is no way Trustfund would transfer what has not been requested for any RSA. The fund is actually transferred to the individual’s PFA, and not to either Trustfund or NSITF.
“The next of kin of deceased people can claim benefits of their breadwinners, so long they have evidence of remittances made under the defunct NPF,” he disclosed.
He noted that all records, funds, and liabilities are now with Trustfund, and are no longer in the custody of NSITF.
Somefun stressed that individuals who contributed to the defunct NPF were at liberty to open an RSA with any of the existing PFAs in the country five years after the pension assets were transferred to Trustfund.
He added: “After that five years period, individual owners of the pension fund are now allowed to open RSA in any PFA of their choice and Trustfund is expected to transfer their NSITF pension contributions to their individual pension account.”