The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has petitioned the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, to impress upon the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to restore the name of its provident fund to the Tier-three GNAT Provident Fund Scheme.
According to the association, the name of its provident fund was changed from the Tier-three GNAT Provident Fund Scheme to the Teachers Provident Fund Scheme without its knowledge, consent and approval and all attempts to get the correction done has been unsuccessful.
“Honourable minister, the above developments has compelled us to believe that the NPRA is deliberately working against the interest of GNAT and we shall not countenance but resist it with all our might and strength. Indeed, any inimical moves to stifle or cow us into submission shall be resisted.
“We are, therefore, serving notice through your honourable office to the NPRA to correct all the anomalies enumerated in this petition by close of day Friday, June 18, 2021, failure of which we shall advise ourselves,” a letter dated June 9, 2021 signed by the General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Musah, to Dr Adutwum, said.
The letter explained that the consent and approval of GNAT was required before any change was made to the trust deed as provided for under item 21.0 of the Trust Deed and Scheme Rules for the GNAT Provident Fund Scheme.
The association said since the board of trustees was appointed for a three-year term, effective May 16, 2018, its tenure of office expired on May 16, 2021 and so should have been reconstituted to carry on with business but that was not done.
Aside from that, it said there was the urgent need to review the trust deed and scheme rules to cure it of its defects, errors and weaknesses that had been identified.
“Sir, GNAT wishes to bring to your attention the difficult situation and times it has endured in the hands of the NPRA and how the authority has deliberately and consciously frustrated its efforts to replace the current board and, therefore, petitions you over this attitude and stance,” the letter said.
It said the tenure of the board of trustees of the fund expired on May 16, 2021 according to Section 6.1 of the trust deed, and in accordance with Section 6.5, the NPRA was notified of the appointment of an interim board by GNAT.
“Unfortunately, not only did the NRPA refuse to effect the change but has consistently shut its doors to any dialogue with GNAT for reasons best known to the NPRA,” the letter said.
“Again, Section 21.0 of the original trust deed states: Subject to the prior approval of the NPRA, the trustees may from time to time, with the consent of GNAT, amend or modify this deed and/or trust powers of provisions of this deed and by resolution in writing passed at a meeting duly called and constituted and signed by all trustees amend any of the provisions of the rules provided that no such alteration or modification shall be made which (a) prejudice the accrued rights or interests of the then member and (b) conflicts with the main purpose of the scheme or any other applicable law,” it added.
Once again, the letter said not only had the NPRA failed to ensure and comply with its core object under Section 6 of the National Pensions Act which provided that the object of the authority was to regulate and monitor the operations of the scheme and ensure the effective administration of pensions in the country but also failed in its duty of care towards contributors and GNAT as an organisation to do due diligence as enjoined by Section 7(i) of the pensions Act before approving the change of name from GNAT Provident Fund Scheme to Teachers Fund Provident Fund Scheme.
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