NIN Enrollment: Pension Industry Beefs Up Compliance Ahead Of Time
In line with the Federal Government’s directive that mandate every Nigerian to have  a National Identity Number (NIN), the  National Pension Commission (PenCom) before now directed all Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders and retirees to approach their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to provide their NINs. This is to avoid denial of pension benefits, NGOZI ONYEAKUSI reports.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in January this year directed telecommunications operators to block all Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards not registered with National Identification Numbers (NIN).This is to enforce compliance of the Federal Government’s mandate that every Nigeria should have a NIN. This move is aimed at tackling security challenges in most parts of  the country.
Presently, NIN has become a key requirement for getting attention from the  government.
Even in the pension industry, the case is never different as pension benefits are now tie to NIN. NIN is presently mandatory for all RSA holders and as well a key requirement in the ongoing data recapturing exercise of contributors.
According to PenCom,  any RSA holder who does not update his records with his PFA will have difficulties accessing the balance in his Retirement Savings Account among other issues.
What is NIN?
NIN is a unique number which identifies the holder  for life and it is issued by National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) after  enrolment.
It is used to match one with his or her  biometric data and other details in the National Identity Database (NIDB) during verification and authentication.
NIN consists of 11 non- intelligible numbers randomly chosen and assigned to an individual at the completion of enrollment into the NIDB.
Once a NIN is assigned to an individual, it can never be reassigned, given or used to another person – that makes it unique in nature.
In the case of the demise of an individual, his/her NIN is retired once a death certificate is presented to the Commission and the individual’s death is established.
All citizens and legal residents in Nigeria, from age zero (birth) and above are eligible to enroll for their NINs.
Uses Of NIN
The NIN is set to be used for all transactions in Nigeria requiring identity verification so one will  be using his or her NIN for obtaining National e-ID card and for travels (international passport application & acquisition).
Others include opening personal bank accounts, getting driver’s license, obtaining  Permanent Voters’ Card, participating in the National Health Insurance Scheme, payment of taxes, transactions related to contributory pension scheme, access to welfare and other relevant services from the Nigerian Government and transactions with social security implications, land transactions subject to the Land Use Act among others.
NIN Enrollment: Effort By Pension industry
In a bid to ensure seamless and stress free registration of NIN, for RSA holders, PenCom and  Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) in 2019  sealed an arrangement with the NIMC.
The arrangement, according to PenCom  was expected to allow PFAs  collect the necessary data from pension contributors on behalf of NIMC, transfer the data to PenCom, who will submit the collected data to NIMC, thereby, making it easier for NIMC to generate NIN for pension contributors.
Since the inception of this arrangement, the commission said,  some RSA holders have benefited from it as the NIN registration process became faster and easier for them.
“The NIN is now mandatory for all RSA holders and it is a key requirement in the ongoing data recapturing exercise of contributors. Any RSA holder who does not update his records with his PFA will have difficulties accessing the balance in his Retirement Savings Account”, said the head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Mr Peter Aghahowa.
According to him, the arrangement became necessary following complaints from RSA holders on the challenge of getting their NIN, which was slowing down the ongoing data recapturing exercise in the Industry.
He said the regulator makes NIN a major requirement for pension contributors as it would guide against multiple identity that characterised the previous data collected in the pension industry. The arrangement would hasten up the process of data recapturing exercise which would be instrumental to the pension transfer window.
NIN Enrollment: The Struggles
Following the NCC ultimatum, Nigerians trooped out in large numbers, stormed enrollment centers in an attempt to get registered for their NIN. Unfortunately, the exercise was not as easy as envisaged due to numerous challenges. Consequently, a process which the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, said should take less than 10 minutes, actually became a task that is taking days of fruitless efforts.
Speaking on effect of  this in the pension industry, the Managing Director, IEI Anchor Pensions Limited, Glory Etaduovie stated that though it was a welcome development, but it coincided with the transfer system. “Overall, it is affecting everyone but I think it is a process that is necessary because a more critical factor, a security is involved. You know, if you don’t have a secured environment, no business will thrive. It is something we need to accept. It is a belated arrangement towards security. It is a good move but honestly it is affecting the present activities of the industry. It is coinciding with the transfer window. You know people, who wish to change PFA have been waiting for a long time  and now it is tied to NIN. It has created a sort of some traffic and  bottlenecks. It is good that it happened because through it the authority will measure the capacity of IT infrastructure they have.
Obviously, it is causing some bottlenecks for a lot of people that want to transfer but we are being patient since security is the exceeding factor.
On the level of compliance NIN registration in the pension industry, Etaduovie pointed out that though the industry started earlier enough with NIN  and data capturing but added that there were a lot of issues not related with NIN but challenges of correct data . ” The NIMC will not accept you  if you have those mismatches, your date of birth mismatch is a serious problem in Nigeria whether deliberate or not.
On the ultimatum, he stated that it has become a habit for Nigerians to comply only when ultimatum is placed. ” You know we have a challenge in this country, until ultimatum is placed on something many people don’t react. You remember  that of BVN, those who started on time do not have issues but those who waited until ultimatum was placed suffered
Culled from NAIPCO Trumpet