SSNIT Boss calls for Pension ceasefire

SSNIT Boss calls for Pension ceasefire
Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Nathan Gadugah
Date: 25-10-2014 Time: 02:10:29:pm
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Ernest Thompson
UHAS

The Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has made a desperate appeal to striking public sector workers to return to the negotiating table and come up with a road map that would solve the current impasse with government.

Ernest Thompson believes  strikes are not the panacea to the ongoing controversy, hinting the situation might get worse if a lasting solution is not found as soon as poosible.

Public sector workers have declared an indefinite strike in protest over what they say is government's poor handling of the tier two pension scheme.

The labour unions want to select their own fund managers to manage the tier two funds but government says it cannot abdicate its responsibility to the various unions- a decision that has resulted in the workers laying down their tools.

The strike has seen hospitals, schools and other public institutions empty with dire repercussions on the country's economy.  

Government has described the strike as illegal and has sued the workers.

The Attorney General wants the courts to make a pronouncement that government is indeed the employer and thus have a say on who manages the second tier pension funds of workers.

The unions are upbeat about meeting government in court.

Even before a decision would be made on the matter, the Director General of SSNIT Ernest Thompson, blamed the current impasse on the law.

According to him the law was passed in a rush in December 2008, at a time when the appropriate structures had not been put in place to execute the policy.

"Custodians were not registered; trustees were not registered at the time," he opined.

He said at the time the law was passed, the capacity of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority was even in question and wondered why the necessary due diligence were not corrected before passing the law.

"What has come now is just a tip of the iceberg," he warned, adding we need patience to resolve the problem.

But Kweku Baako Jnr of the Crusading Guide Newspaper said the law cannot be blamed.

He said it took over four years for the law to be properly formulated and passed. He stated furtherthat even after the passage of the bill into law, a grace period was given so that all the bottlenecks would be resolved before the first batch of pensioners would receive their pensions.

He wondered why after six years government is now turning around to blame the law for the problem.

He would rather attribute the ongoing challenge to suspicions and mistrust from both sides.


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