The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) has inaugurated its Zonal Office in Tamale, in the Northern Region. In a short ceremony on October 20, 2016 in the Tamale Metropolis, the Authority invited some dignitaries in the area including traditional, religious and government officials to witness the launch of its office complex.
The National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) established that the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) regulates and monitor the operations of the scheme and ensure effective administration of all pensions in the country. Addressing the gathering, the Board Chairman of the NPRA, Dr. Nii Kwaku Sowa said the occasion marks another milestone in the history of the NPRA as the authority is opening another zonal office after inaugurating one in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region earlier this year.
He noted the Tamale branch further re-enforces the NPRA’s efforts to decentralize its activities to be closer to workers and its stakeholders. Adding the NPRA is dedicated to protect and safeguard pension funds and in so doing get good returns on workers contributions.
Dr. Nii Kwaku Sowa stated that after dedicating much of their useful life to serve this nation in diverse ways, it behooves on the country to reciprocate by ensuring that, the aged in our society are well cared for when they retire from active labour and was of the believe that, the NPRA exists just for that. He revealed as an Authority mandated to regulate the pensions industry, the NPRA ensures that proper structures are put in place to secure pensions for all contributors.
The NPRA Board Chairman, Dr. Nii Kwaku Sowa revealed the NPRA is also interested in how pension monies are invested. He said a couple of months ago, “we assembled some of the best brains in investments in Ghana and the group help us to review the current investment guidelines to help enhance and protect placement of pension funds”.
Dr. Nii however indicated that very soon this will be approved by the Board and will form the basic guiding principles of the investment of pension funds.
Meanwhile, Deputy Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Baba Jamal said the ministry and for that matter government is working closely with all stakeholders including the Authority under a policy of transition from the Informal sector to the Formal Economy. He noted some of the key challenges in relation to the formal sector participation in the pension schemes such as mode of payment of contributions are being considered.
Baba Jamal revealed the Total Assets under management for Private Funds as at September 2016, is about 6.4 billion Ghana Cedis with about 2.6 billion Ghana Cedis in the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA).
“I want to assure Ghanaians especially public sector workers that, the funds are safe and that the contributions of public sector workers would be transferred when the public sector schemes are fully registered and operational” he affirmed.
The Deputy Minister revealed so far, three of the Public Sector Schemes have been duly registered by the NPRA and going through operational procedures for their 5% deductions to be paid to the Custodian Bank of the Registered schemes.
He said the Authority in November 2015, commenced the transfer of funds in the Temporary Pension Fund Account and added as at August 2016, an amount of GHS 356, 169, 644.73 has been transferred to seventy four (74) schemes consisting of Twenty Five (25) Master Trust Schemes and Forty Nine (49) Employer Sponsored Schemes representing 4, 139 employers and 163, 595 employees.