Ghana’s pension scheme is under threat as its manager seems to be losing out on some of its current investments.
Investigations conducted by Economy Times had revealed that workers of the various corporate institutions located around Ridge and Heritage Towers in Accra have abandoned the central car park built by the manager of the pension scheme, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
Both the Ridge and the Heritage Towers were built by SSNIT. The central car park has a parking capacity of 818 cars, but less than 150 cars patronise it daily compared to that of high street.
Checks by Economy Times at the central car park reveals that workers from MTN, Fidelity bank, among other corporate organisations complained about the high rate charged by the Trust.
“Workers of these institutions now found an alternative place to park their vehicles,” Mr John Galley, a security man at the Heritage Towers told this paper.
The car park charges GH¢2 every hour and attracts GH¢50p for every subsequent hour, seasonal tickets attracts a fee of GH¢4 a day for eight hours while parking for a week attracts GH¢20 every week.
This phenomenon is likely to threaten SSNIT’s investment in this regard due to the low patronage by the workers. The mind boggling question many are asking is what normally informs SSNIT’s decision before deciding on projects that will attract good returns on the pension fund that it manages.
Recently, SSNIT admitted that some of its investments in some companies had gone bad, and had decided to either recapitalise those companies to make them more vibrant or liquidate them.
The Director-General of SSNIT, Dr Frank Odoom, this year hinted that between four and five companies in which the Trust had invested in would be liquidated.
Stephen Yeboah, Chief Actuary also told the media recently that since January 2010, there had been a reduction in the contribution rate from 17.5 per cent to 11 per cent, adding that, “this has resulted in a loss of contribution income by 41 per cent.” The shortfall in contribution, he noted, implies that the Trust would have less capital for investment.
The investment policy objectives of the Trust is to implement an optimal asset allocation policy; maintain a long-term optimum fund ratio; protect the quantum of the assets of the scheme and the value of those assets, achieve a real return on the investment of at least two per cent per annum and attract, train and retain competent investment talents.
Out of the over 30 listed companies on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), the Trust has investment in 24, with its biggest investment in the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) where it holds 29.81 per cent and the least in terms of shares is AngloGold Ashanti where it has only 0.02 per cent.
For private equity funds, the Trust has investment in four of them while it has also invested in nine equity holdings classified as economically targeted investment.
SSNIT has equities in seven unlisted manufacturing firms, two in real estate, four in the hospitality industry, three in the services industry, seven in banking and another four in financial houses.
It also has equities in other unlisted companies whose work is in progress and these are the Oguaa Hotels Limited (78 per cent), Metropolitan Malls Limited (45 per cent) which project has stalled and the Telkom Emporium (27 per cent).