Pensions for informal sector still low— NPRA

•    Dr.  Sapara-Grant

• Dr. Sapara-Grant

The National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA), says the extension of coverage for pensions for workers in the informal sector of the economy is still low despite the incentives provided under the new pension reform.

The Chief Executive Officer of The NPRA, Kofi Anokye Owusu-Darko, who expressed these sentiments in Accra on Wednesday, said, “We may have to seek your advice and support to see how we can promote such extension.”

Mr. Owusu-Darko said this at the fourth GLICO Stakeholders forum, an annual event instituted by GLICO Pension Trust on the status of the Master Trust Scheme and to solicit some feedback to improve on the operations.

He commended GLICO Pension Scheme for its successful operational results and urged management to extend their operations beyond Ghana.

The Chief Executive Officer said the authority had started the implementation of a sanction regime to enforce compliance with provisions of the National Pension Act, saying “so far we have consulted all stakeholders on any significant action we have embarked upon, this will continue”.

He said there had been suggestions for the NPRA to look again at the guidelines on investment for possible review and “this is currently under review, we are also looking at standardising scheme reporting format and introducing risk based supervision”.

Mr. Owusu-Darko said the NPRA had decided to institute quarterly meetings with service providers, corporate trustees, pension fund managers, and pension fund custodians to discuss issues of national interests and policy issues.

He said the funds lodged into the Temporary Pension Fund Account(TPFA) at the Bank of Ghana for the Second Tier Fund had been invested in treasury bills, adding that after the appropriate reconciliation and auditing are done as required to be transferred into the custody accounts of the Corporate Trustee and the employer sponsored scheme.

“I am happy to announce that the transfers have begun, the exercise is ongoing, after the appropriate due diligence are conducted on a scheme,” he added.

The Chief Executive Officer of GLICO Pensions, Dr. Francis Sapara-Grant, said despite the challenges and uncertainties that had characterised the implementations of the National Pensions Act, GLICO Pension still continues to pursue its business with zeal and professionalism due to constant support provided by the company-GLICO Life.

“This has resulted in substantial growth in the membership and assets base of the GLICO Master Trust schemes over the past three years,” he said.

“It is therefore, worth noting that out of the total number of 11,000 establishments registered by all licensed corporate trustees under the Tier 2, the GLICO Master Trust Occupational Pension Scheme had captured approximately 20 per cent of this number as at September 2015, even though the company commenced operations much later than our major competitors,” Dr. Sapara-Grant added.

He said it was expected that the much awaited TPFA would have been released by the NPRA to corporate trustees for management in order to shore up their assets base and their related fee income, and thereby facilitate rapid enrolment of establishments on to the three-tier pension scheme.

“Regrettably however, the process for the release of the TPFA funds has delayed unusually for five years, thereby requiring trustees to overstretch their financial muscles in order to sustain their operations,” he lamented.

By Salifu Abdul- Rahaman       

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