The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) has advised workers in the informal sector to prioritize the Tie-Three Pension Scheme by investing part of their earnings in the voluntary Tier Three Pension Scheme administered by private entities.
Mr. Tekyi Mensah, the Central and Western Regional Director of the Authority, made this known at a sensitization forum for players in the informal sector in Cape Coast. He noted that although every worker retires with the hope of enjoying a good life, some get disappointed at the end of their working life because some employers failed to pay their workers’ contributions as expected.
The regional director averred that the introduction of Tiers two and three has paved the way for employers and employees to contribute more for a better future. As such, he noted that this is the surest way to what he described as ‘a happy old age’, as many workers under the present pension scheme would be entitled to only a quarter of their current incomes during retirement.
As per the Pension Act 2008 (Act 766), Ghana operates a three-tier pension scheme. Tier-One is made up of a mandatory monthly contribution of 13.5 per cent of the basic salary managed by the SSNIT. Tier-Two is a mandatory contribution of five per cent of the basic salary managed by a licensed fund manager, while Tier-Three is an optional contribution also managed by licensed private fund managers.
Being voluntary, contributions to the Tier-Three scheme are up to the employee and employer to determine how much of the employee’s salary would be contributed to it.
One of the benefits of investing in the Tier-3 pension scheme, Mr. Mensah explained, is that the “government will give tax relief on pension at retirement and also one can take his or her pension savings as a tax-free lump sum upon retirement.”
Many Workers Active In Service Don’t Take Interest in SSNIT
Mr. Mensah noted that many workers while in active service, never took interest in updating their social security contributions. The concomitant has been that many people retire before they become serious with their social security claims, somewhat causing unnecessary delays before they receive their pension payments.
Many man-hours are lost trying to engage the Social Security and National Insurance Trust to resolve the matter and bring some minimal comfort to retired people. “Now is the time to save into the fund to secure the future and have a better pension life,” Mr. Mensah added
Mr. Tekyi Mensah stated that as a regulator, the NPRA’s objective is to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery and transparency in administering personal pension schemes. He encouraged trustees to leverage technology, including mobile money platforms, to support the expansion of pension coverage into the informal sector.
“This continuous technological advancement has radically changed how trustees conduct their businesses, transform ways of engagement with contributors, and ultimately expand the scope for financial inclusion,” Mr. Tekyi Mensah added.
Meanwhile, some participants asked the Trustees and SSNIT to digitalize their operations to ease the inconveniences with information and communication. They demanded that NPRA and SSNIT made it a point to educate and sensitize workers on the need to check their social security and other pension contributions regularly to facilitate the prompt payment of their pensions.
The participants explained that such education would remind the workers of their obligations to follow through the processes, since there could be some employers who might default in regularly remitting to SSNIT what have been deducted from the monthly salary of the worker.