Business News of Sunday, 24 September 2017
The Managing Director (MD) of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, has called for a proper management of pension funds to help realise a significant growth in the income of pensioners during retirement.
He explained that besides the basic aim of guaranteeing the survival of pensioners, the fund also serves as a major source of long-term funding for governments to transform an economy.
“Aside from this basic aim of guaranteeing the survival of pensioners, the fund also provides a long-term investment for the government, as well as the capital market to help sustain the country’s economy,”
Mr Ashigbey said at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting on Tuesday, September 19 in Accra.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case in the country in spite of huge sums of money accrued to the pension scheme yearly, Mr Ashigbey observed, adding that the time has come for pensions to be taken seriously as a major driver for economic transformation.
He noted that pension funds were meant to build income security for workers when they no longer had a salary but had to meet life’s routine obligations such as food, clothing and shelter for self and family.
At the same period, he said, most pensioners suffered afflictions from diseases associated with ageing, such as diabetes, hypertension and prostate cancer, which required lifelong management with dire financial implications.
For that reason, Mr Ashigbey said, contributors expected their contributions to be managed well in order to result in a significant growth on returns to get good pensions on retirement.
He said the significance of the pension funds to the survival of a country’s citizenry was the reason why most governments across the world had developed laws to protect the fund.
He advised Ghanaians to develop an interest in the management of the pension funds in the country in order to secure a successful future.
“I think that citizens need to know and understand what their pensions law says, whether it truly protects their future and also contributes to the economic growth in a manner that will meaningfully affect their lives both in and after employment,” he added.
Catalyst for growth
The MD of Stanbic Bank Ghana, Mr Alhassan Andani, said pension was the catalyst for the growth in most developed countries in the world.
“The last time I checked, only two million out of the 27 million people in the country had been rolled onto the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension scheme, a worrying situation which needs to be addressed,” he said.
To address the anomaly, he noted that it was important for stakeholders to deploy robust measures to capture the unserved market from the informal sector.
“I am challenging the professionals here to think about how we can bring in the vast majority of Ghanaians in the informal sector rather than targeting the four million people in the formal sector,” he added.
The breakfast meeting, which is an initiative of the GCGL and the bank, is a series of dialogues that feature selected topics and is aimed at influencing government policies in favour of businesses.
It brought together players in the private sector, policy makers and people from the government to deliberate on the role pensions play in a country’s development.
On the theme, “The Role of Pensions in National Economic Development and Sustainability,” the meeting was chaired by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), Mr Hayford Atta Krufi.
Other speakers were Ms Angela Akosua Gyasi, Partner with Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah; Mr Charles Osei-Akoto, the CEO of Stallion Trust Company Limited and Mr Peter Osei Duah, a former MD of SIC Insurance.