Wednesday, 24 January 2018

NPRA rolls out incentives to informal workers

THE National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) has approved various incentive packages aimed at cushioning trustees and promoting the coverage of the informal sector workers with pension schemes.
The Authority has, therefore, expressed the hope that trustees would leave their comfort zones and enter the informal sector space which covered 85 per cent of the country’s workforce.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ workshop in Accra yesterday, Mr Hayford Attah Krufi, Chief Executive Officer of NPRA said some of the incentives included the waiving of NPRA fees of 0.33 per cent on Net Asset Value for two years, with the rationale to make more funds available for Trustees by increasing their fees and also match up contributions of members by reducing the total fees from 2.5 per cent to 2.33 per cent.
He said the Authority had also fixed a non-negotiable Pension Fund Managers and Custodians fees to 0.56 per cent and 0.28 per cent to enable them have enough funds to effectively perform their assigned roles and ensure prudent management of the funds.
“There was also the reduction of the Informal Sector Scheme registration fee from GH¢5,000 to GH¢1,000 with the rationale to encourage high participation of Corporate Trustee and to maximise the coverage of persons in the informal sector.”
The NPRA was reducing Individual Trustee Informal Sector licensing fee from GH¢5,000 to GH¢500 to encourage high trustee turnover for schemes which would lead to good governance of the scheme.
Mr Krufi said all the measures had been outlined to support those willing to enter the informal sector and rope them into various pensions’ schemes to ensure a secured future for all Ghanaians.
He explained that most often, trustees were only interested in the 15 per cent workforce in the public sector and neglected the 85 per cent private sector workers involving farmers, traders and fisher folk and all who needed to be catered for in their old age.
He said trustees should therefore take advantage of the incentives and reach out to the informal sector which had many prospects and served as a critical area for the Authority.
Mr Krufi said the Authority was also working closely towards the transfer of contributions of Public sector workers into the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA), and that a number of progressive meetings had been held with key stakeholders including the trustees of the public sector schemes and their administrators and the Controller and Accountant Generals Department to finalise the processes for the transfer.
“While efforts are being made to transfer the accrued contributions in the TPFA, trustee of the following three public sector schemes, including Hedge Master Trust Scheme, GES Occupational Pension Scheme, Health Services Workers Occupational Pension Scheme and the Judicial Service Occupational Pension have received GH¢1,137,375.36 which cover five per cent contributions of Public Sector Workers for the period of September 2016 to February 2017”, he said.
He also announced that the Authority had as at the end of March 2017, transferred an amount of GH¢544,812, 957 representing contributions of 250,532 private sector workers from 7, 694 employers.
The CEO assured that with the implementation of the three-tier Pension Scheme, continuous efforts would be made to improve engagement with stakeholders in the management of smooth running of the schemes.
To that effect, Mr Krufi said the Authority had developed guidelines for Trustees Training, established a Trustee Training Council and also developed a syllabus to guide the teaching of the relevant courses in pension schemes in the country.
He explained that NPRA in compliance with the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) had also put the necessary measures in place to ensure that service providers in the industry had the requisite knowledge and understanding in pensions for effective administration of registered schemes.
Meanwhile, some of the participating stakeholders, including Corporate Trustees, fund managers, Custodians, and Training Institutions expressed joy on the rolling out of incentives.
A Trustee, however, suggested to the NPRA to work to acquire prosecuting authority so that it could prosecute companies that refused to register their workers under the tier-two pension scheme.

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