Delegates at the maiden National Labour Conference have issued a communique urging the Government of Ghana to review the pensionable income to include allowances and non-cash benefits to improve benefits after retirement.
In a 31-point communique issued at the end of a two-day conference, the delegates noted that pensions are part of working conditions and must be prioritised by employers for the benefit of workers. They charged social partners to work together to consolidate the gains in working conditions for better coverage, protection and compliance.
The communique was jointly signed by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, also representing Government, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, representing Organised Labour and Mr Daniel Acheampong, representing Employers.
The delegates also called on the Government and Organised Labour to accelerate their engagement to ensure that all outstanding issues related to the Temporary Pensions funds Account (TPFA) are resolved so that retirees receive their full entitlements.
The communique disclosed that “following the implementation of a three-tier Pension Scheme under the Pensions Act 766 of 2008, there has been challenges with transferring funds into the accounts of tier two pension schemes because of legacy arrears, among others”.
Tripartite Group to Initiate National Dialogue
The delegates also requested the Tripartite Group to initiate a national dialogue on pensions scheme unifications. They moreover, charged SSNIT to implement administrative reforms to reduce administrative cost, rebalance its investment portfolios and ensure prudent management of investments, as well as increase contribution rate.
The delegates urged National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to build the necessary capacity to regulate, monitor and supervise all pensions schemes to promote sustainability of the scheme, and to ensure regular actuarial assessment of SSNIT.
The delegates indicated that the government, under Act 766 of 2008, established the new contributory three-tier pension scheme, which comprises two mandatory schemes and a voluntary scheme as follows: a first-tier mandatory basic national social security scheme which will incorporate an improved system of SSNIT, mandatory for all employees in both the private and public sectors. The second-tier occupational (or work-based) pension scheme is mandatory for all employees but privately managed, and designed primarily to give contributors higher lump sum benefits than presently available under the CAP 30 and SSNIT pension scheme.
The communique explained that the third-tier voluntary provident fund and personal pension schemes, supported by tax benefit incentives, are to provide additional funds for workers who want to make voluntary contributions to enhance their pension benefits and also for workers in the informal sector.
Presently, the lowest monthly paid pension is GHC300.00, while the highest is more than GHC142,500. The delegates stated that the monthly contribution under tier one, which is supposed to pay a monthly income to retirees is 13.5 per cent of the basic salary, with 2.5 per cent being remitted towards the employee’s National Health Insurance, leaving 11 per cent as premium. This, they indicated, is to small and needs improvement.
The delegates thus, raised concerns over inadequacies of the level of pensions to sustain a respectable life for retired public servants.
The conference brought together 100 delegates. The delegates deliberated the socio-economic challenges confronting the nation amid the causes of labour disputes and pledged to play their respective roles and support one another to address the challenges and create the conducive working atmosphere to propel national development.