Dr Thomas Ango Bediako, Board Member of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) on Wednesday called for effective collaboration of stakeholders for the successful implementation of the three-tier pension scheme.
He stressed: “Whether the scheme will succeed or not is a collective responsibility of us all- employers, employees, fund managers and government.”
Dr Bediako, a retired educationist, who is also a member of the Education and Publicity Committee of the NPRA, was speaking as a co-facilitator at a day’s educational and sensitisation outreach programme for formal sector workers on the new pension scheme in Sunyani.
The programme was organised and facilitated by the NPRA, the implementation body, aimed at educating and sensitising formal and informal workers to deepen their understanding and encourage them to participate actively in the new scheme.
The forum, which was the second after Koforidua, is a nationwide outreach programme and was made possible by the World Bank, NPRA’s development partners as well as the Financial Services Division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
It was attended by about 300 participants drawn from various public sector organisations, agencies and institutions in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Dr Bediako appealed to employees to consider the relevance of basic pay in their negotiations for salary increment “because what goes into the calculation of pension is the contributions based on workers’ basic salary and not allowances”.
Mr Ernest Amartey Vondee, NPRA Director of Regulations, explained the relevance of pensions and background to the pension reform, features of the reform, features of the Social Security Scheme and features of Occupational Pension.
He also highlighted the Provident Fund Scheme, features of the Group Personal/Personal Pension Scheme, roles of Trustees and Service Providers, functions of the NPRA and the scheme for the informal sector.
Mr Vondee said workers would have a better control over their pension management under the second and third tier schemes, which are to be privately managed. “Member involvement in the management would help promote a sense of ownership and create the confidence that the scheme is properly run.
“There is portability of accrued benefits,” Mr Vondee said, adding that a privately managed pension scheme with generous tax incentives and under prudential regulation and supervision would provide an effective way to offer retirement protection to the workforce.
Mr Vondee said the new scheme made provision for employers to consider participating in a Master Trust Scheme (MTS) for their members. “The MTS are multiple employer schemes open to employees of more than one employer”, he explained.
“By pooling together contributions of different employers and their employees, MTS can enjoy a high degree of efficiency in terms of scheme administration and investment, resulting from economies of scale.” Mr Vondee said the informal sector groups could participate as organised groups under a Group Personal Pension Scheme or as individuals under a Personal Pension Scheme arrangement.
Mr Samuel Ababio, a member of the NPRA board, clarified that despite the mandatory four- year period of phasing out the CAP 30 Pension Scheme on December 31, 2013, existing CAP 30 pensioners would continue to receive their pension pay.
He said they would be paid by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department and “all increases will also be given to them accordingly”.
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