Following the increasing interest by Nigerians in the Diaspora to participate in the Nigerian Contributory Pension Scheme, it became imperative for the National Pension Commission to provide rules guiding participation and defining limitations through the issuance of a guideline on Cross Border Arrangement. Cross-border employment often leads to loss of pension rights as a result of waiting or vested periods imposed by some pension schemes. Quite a number of pension schemes do not allow for transfer of pension rights to countries they do not have cross-border arrangement with.
One key objective of the guidelines on cross-border arrangement (CBA) is to seek to encourage the participation of Nigerians abroad in the Contributory Pension Scheme and assist them to save in Nigeria towards their old age and subsequent return.
The CBA specifies the conditions and guiding principles under which Nigerian citizens working in other countries could participate in the Nigerian Contributory Pension Scheme. The CBA, therefore, makes provision for Nigerians in Diaspora, who may wish to make voluntary contributions.
Besides, it provides a platform to accommodate foreigners working in the country in the new scheme, thus guaranteeing a better retirement life for them. Any foreign employee of a company registered in Nigeria shall, at his/her discretion, join the scheme, without considering whether or not he/she has a pension arrangement in his/her home country. The employee shall inform his employer of his interest to join the scheme.
Any Nigerian working abroad, who is interested in joining the new pension scheme, shall be allowed to participate by making voluntary contributions. Nigerian employees of Nigerian institutions with offices abroad shall be allowed to participate in the scheme. Where the employee joins a retirement benefit scheme abroad, he/she shall be allowed to repatriate his/her accumulated benefits to his/her RSA with a PFA in Nigeria.
Any Nigerian employee already contributing into his/her RSA going on transfer to another country or leaving his/her employment in the country for another employment abroad, shall notify his/her PFA through his/her previous employer. Pursuant to the above, the employee shall indicate whether he/she intends to send voluntary contributions into the RSA.
A Nigerian previously working abroad shall be part of the scheme if upon his/her return to the country, secures an employment. Where the Nigerian wants to repatriate his accrued benefits into his RSA, he/she shall obtain anti-money laundry clearance/approval from relevant authorities in the home country (Nigeria) and the host country (where he was previously working).
The complete Guideline on Cross Border Arrangement is available on the website of the National Pension Commission https://www.pencom.gov.ng/category/regulations-codes/guidelines/guidelines-for-cross-border-arrangements-under-the-pension-reform-act/