Ghana

We welcome proposals to review SSNIT contributions – NPRA Boss

The Chief Execu­tive Officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Au­thority (NPRA), Hayford Atta Krufi, has welcomed proposals to increase contributions to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) tier one scheme.

It follows proposals from SSNIT and some stakeholders in the pensions industry for the contributions to be increased to make the scheme sustainable.

A recent actuarial report showed that Ghana’s pension scheme could be under serious threat in the next 10 years if measures are not taken to review the rate of contributions.

Speaking on Joy TV’s PM Express Business Edition pro­gramme on Friday, Mr Krufi stat­ed that any decision taken would be dependent on recommenda­tions from the various players in the industry.

“We should realise that the government employers as well as the various union will be the ones making the payment and their view is very important,” he said.

He added that discussions concerning whether the SSNIT contributions would be increased or not were ongoing.

He disclosed that the NPRA was also working on reviewing the investment guidelines for SSNIT as well as other measures to help reduce the cost of its operations.

The new National Pension Scheme was instituted by the National Pensions Act, Act 766, which ensures that every Ghanaian worker receives retirement benefits as and when due.

The Act 766, which was passed on December 12th, 2008, mandated the establishment of a new contributory Three-Tier Pension Scheme with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to oversee the efficient administration of the composite pension scheme.

The New Pension Scheme was launched on 16th September, 2009, and its implementation start­ed in January 2010.

The First Tier is the Basic National Social Security Scheme for all workers in Ghana. It is a defined benefit scheme and man­datory for workers to have 13.5% contributions made on their be­half. The contribution is managed by SSNIT.

The Second Tier is a defined contributory Occupational Pension Scheme mandatory for workers with 5% contribution made on behalf of members. The con­tribution is managed privately by approved Trustees.

The Third Tier, which includes all Provident Funds and all other Pension Funds outside Tiers I and II, is a voluntary scheme.

Responding to calls to review the current retirement age of 60 years, Mr Krufi said the decision would depend on the constitution.

He explained that it would take the government and parliament to amend the law on retirement age.

“This has to do more with the country’s constitution. Discussions may start now with Parliamentari­ans in terms of role they can play when it comes to the review of the pension,” he said.

Mr Kruffi disagreed with pro­posals that the laws guiding where pension funds should be invested should be reviewed.

It follows calls by some stake­holders after the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, which showed that Pension Funds were heavily impacted.

He emphasised that the pen­sion’s law already stipulates areas the funding could be invested.

He added that it was too early to make such changes due to the Domestic Debt Exchange Pro­gramme.

Mr Krufi noted that for now, the percentage of investments could be reviewed and not neces­sarily the areas.

On the DDEP, Mr Krufi re­jected arguments that his outfit did not do enough to protect contrib­utors.

“It was government’s decision to restructure the Pension Funds. We should not forget that one of the reasons that forced the government to undertake this exercise was the current econom­ic situation.”

Mr Krufi noted that the reg­ulator indeed did intervene at all stages to ensure that the contrib­utors were protected as well as workers.

Mr Krufi

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