Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, Sept. 26, GNA – The Forum of Public
Sector Registered Pension Schemes, on Wednesday, advised the Government to
resist any urge to review the Pensions Law to enable it to utilise pension
funds to support private industries or housing projects.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, to
react to attempts by some politicians and industrialists for the review of the
Pensions Law, Dr Isaac Bampoe-Addo, the Chairman of the Forum, said the
National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) had clearly defined areas for investments
under section 176.
Therefore, he stated, it would not allow politicians
or industrialists to dip their hands into the huge accumulated pension funds
for any purpose not permitted by the law.
He urged the Government to allow the pension
schemes to work as defined by the National Pension Regulatory Authority and in
consonance with the existing laws.
Dr Bampoe Addo, therefore, warned politicians
and private industrialists to stop all mechanisations to get access to pension
funds, at the peril of workers.
“The Forum would not sit down unconcerned for
Government to use any means to appropriate workers’ pension for its intended
private sector support,” he said.
“The Forum is not in favour of using pension
funds to support private sector schemes with the sole aim of private industries
assessing funds at about nine per cent, instead of the prevailing 30% interest
on loans,” Dr Bampoe Addo.
He said it was prudent to allow the Trustees of
the various pension schemes to manage the pension funds, explaining that the
profits accruing on the pension funds were far better than that of the Social
Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
Therefore, he said, it was not worth risking
the funds by lending them to private industries and estate developers.
He said it would continue to be the watchdog
on pensions and resist any overt or covert attempt to subvert the smooth
implementation of the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act766).
The caution by the Forum, he said, followed a
statement reported to have been issued by Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, a renowned
industrialist, at the recently held Ghana Economic Forum that, the original
pension scheme was to provide long term capital to local industries.
Additionally, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the
Minister of Works and Housing, is reported to have declared at various public
platforms that, the Government was exploring ways to change the pension
legislation to ring fence 30 per cent of pension funds for mortgage financing
to reduce the housing deficit by developing affordable houses.
Dr Bampoe Addo declared: “In as much as we
agree that improvements in housing is a laudable idea, we find it outrageous
that part of workers’ pension should go to support private housing programmes
that would not inure to the benefit of retirees.
“Indeed, the decision to acquire a primary
residence rests with the beneficiary and not by any political fiat.”
Dr Bampoe Addo explained that the Tier Two
Pension Scheme was a defined contribution scheme, which depended on viable and
safe investments to ensure that meaningful benefits were paid on contributors’
contributions, therefore, all contributions made in the name of a member vested
in the member.
The Forum comprises 12 labour unions
including, the Civil and Local Government Staff Association; Ghana National
Association of Teachers; Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union; Ghana
National Association of Graduate Teachers; Health Services Workers Union; Ghana
Registered Nurses and Midwives Association; Ghana Medical Association; Ghana
Physician Assistants’ Association; Ghana Association of Certified Registered
Anaesthetists, among others.