General News of Saturday, 13 October 2012
The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) has assured Ghanaians that the Pension Scheme is in safe hands and as well on its way to achieve the goals and objectives set out for it.
It explained that despite some challenges, especially resource constraints; it had not hampered the activities of the Authority as some media and other organisations had put on the public domain.
The Board was reacting in a statement to the ongoing public discussions on the National Pension Scheme (NPS), its genesis, goals and objectives and implications for pensioners and the nation as well as corresponding performance of the NPRA.
“We will like to set the records straight and correct the factual errors and misrepresentations that have been made to the …public in recent reports, discussions, lectures and alerts among others.”
The Board said in line with its mission of ensuring the safety and security of workers pension, admitted that the Trustees pension funds should long have been transferred to them as they require the fee incomes to run their operations.
It contended that there have been some complains that the speed at which the proceeding was going had not kept pace with expectations and the NPRA wish to express its sympathies with the difficulties of those stakeholders.
The Board however said it has to satisfy itself that contributor’s fund would be safe and secure with the Trustees and their Schemes, as it was being guided by the experiences of Nigeria, South Africa and Chile.
It was of the opinion that it was better to proceed cautiously than to rush through with a transfer of funds to the Scheme which might not be quite ready.
The statement said the establishment of the Temporary Pension Fund Account was not an illegality as claimed in some quarters, explaining that its establishment was supported by section 218 of Act 766, and under the Transitional Arrangements.
The Board said, as part of its obligations to the nation, it would continuously open to suggestion and proposals to help to improve the NPS, and that suggestions, views and opinions offered should have good intention to strengthen the Scheme to provide quality services to Ghanaians rather than rubbish it.
It noted that in the quest to educate and inform the public on such a critical area as National Pensions, some media and organisations had hastened to make important material factual errors, misstatements, misrepresentations and unclear conclusions.
The Authority has as at June 2012 approved and licensed 15 Corporate Trustees, 13 Custodian Banks, 31 Fund Managers and seven additional Fund Managers/Custodians had been approved pending publication of the public notice.
The statement said licensing and registering such Service Providers required the Authority to conduct a fit and proper test on all directors and key staff of all applicants and that involved working with the security agencies.
“We are doing our possible best to ensure the scheme benefited Ghanaians and we called on all other stakeholders to do same but not make vile and denigrated remarks about the NPRA and its Board Chairman,” the statement said.
The Board said the journey that Ghana embarked on to reform pensions was a courageous one aimed to ensure security in retirement as one of its top priorities.
It was the intention of the Authority to learn from both the successes and the mistakes so that the pensioner in Ghana for whom all the myriad of activities were intended to support would be the clear beneficiary, the Board said.
The Board advised that for that to be achieve, it was important that discussion on the NPS transcend the traditional divisions in the country and all stakeholders must be guided by the spirit of continuous improvement.