Keep off our ₵1bn pension funds - Graduate teachers warn Finance minister

Keep off our ₵1bn pension funds - Graduate teachers warn Finance minister
Source: Ghana | | Zaina Adamu | Email: | Twitter: @ZainaAdamu
Date: 09-08-2018 Time: 05:08:11:pm
NAGRAT Angel Carbonu

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) are concerned that the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) in conjunction with the Finance Ministry are improperly handling their pensions.

NAGRAT’s president, Angel Carbonu, said in a press conference that requests made to the NPRA’s chief executive for their pension funds to be transferred to the Ghana Education Service (GES) have been ignored.

They made an initial request for the funds to be transferred at a stakeholder’s meeting in June of this year.

Over GH¢1 billion of teachers’ pension funds are in the hands of the NPRA, Carbonu said. He said he believes the regulatory authority is refusing to release the funds due to political ties and “personal and egoistic gains.”

NAGRAT has observed, the politicisation of pension funds which began under the NDC government has continued into the NPP government.

The previous government appointed Pension Alliance and Universal Merchant Bank to manage their pensions much to the displeasure of the teachers.

“We are aware of proposals to replace the custodian, fund manager and scheme administrator with Prudential Bank, Glico Insurance and Data Bank. We hereby demand that the government take their hands off teacher’s pension funds,” Mr. Cabournu said.

“The Minister of Finance has suddenly lost the formula for transferring pension fund when it came to the turn of the teachers. We reject the spurious excuse that the consultant has to be engaged to generate membership contribution data before the funds can be transferred.

If the funds are not transferred, Carbonu said, the association will be forced to take legal action.

“The issue of pension is an issue of life and death,” Carbonu said, adding “In this country, a majority of pensioners die prematurely because of the paltry sums given to them as pension,” adding that the NPRA not relinquishing funds is not in the general interest of teachers.

Last month, the Ghana National Association of Teachers’ (GNAT) general secretary, David Ofori Acheampong, made similar claims. He told “The Graphic” that he was astounded to learn that the NPRA released 80 months of pension to the Ghana Health Service and The Judicial Service Association of Ghana among others organizations, but failed to furnish GES with their funds.

He said remarks by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, during the Mid-Year Review that teachers will be paid July salaries through a supplementary payment voucher are false.

But Ofori-Atta maintained that “after seven years of agitation by public sector workers demanding that their pension funds be transferred to their schemes to be managed, we transferred the total amount of GH¢3,001.73 million being the total value of funds in the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA) and restored workers’ pension funds to the five (5) public sector pension schemes something that the previous regime had been unable to do for seven years” he said on the Parliament floor in July.

Read more: How to resolve the second-tier pension impasse and improve pension administration in Ghana

The NPRA has currently approved over 50 companies under Act 766 of the National Pensions Act, 2008. Those schemes include the Ecobank Ghana Tier 3 Provident Fund, the Nestle Tier 3 Provident Fund and the NHIA Provident Fund Scheme. The statutory agency is held accountable for the directive and policy development of pension administration in Ghana.

The NPRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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