Government to transfer GH?3.1 billion into tier two pension funds

Accra, Government has agreed to transfer GH?3.1 billion to the custodian accounts of the pension schemes of the labour unions, called the Forum, by December 5, this year.

The tier two pension funds have been lodging with the Bank of Ghana since 2010 when the National Pension Regulation Authority Act was passed.

Government and the Forum comprised four labour schemes namely; the Health Sector Occupational Scheme, Ghana Education Service Occupational Scheme, Civil and Local Government Service Occupational Scheme and the Judiciary Service Occupational Pension Scheme. The funds would also cater for all other labour unions that are not yet registered with the scheme.

Government and representatives of the Forum signed the communique on Friday in Accra, to signify the resolution of issues relating to the tier two pension funds.

The communique was signed after both government and Forum had agreed and adopted the Ministerial Technical Committee’s Report.

They agreed that a sum of GH?3.1 billion would be transferred from the Tier Two Pension Account to the labour schemes and would be done in the following proportion.

The Health Sector Occupation Scheme 21.6 per cent, Ghana Education Service Sector Occupational Scheme 58.9 per cent, Civil and Local Government Service Trust Occupational Scheme 10.23 per cent and Judiciary Service Occupational Pension Scheme 0.9 per cent, while all the other labour unions yet to register their schemes would receive 8. 2 per cent.

The amount includes interest and interest on delayed payments.

Two representatives each from the Labour Forum and the government side signed the communique during the signing protocol.

Mr Bright Wireko Brobbey, the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, read the communique on behalf of Government.

Mr Brobbey said in September this year, government and the Forum agreed on a road-map to determine the way forward towards the resolution of issues relating to the tier two pension funds, which is lodging with the Bank of Ghana.

He said both government and the Forum adopted the Committee’s Report and agreed that the transfers should be invested in long term instruments spanning a period of 10 years, while 50 per cent of the funds should be invested in instrument between one and seven years with only one per cent invested in cash instrument.

The transfers would be effected to the schemes by December 5, 2017, so that each scheme would have its management team to manage the funds.

The outstanding issues on the tier two pension funds had been pending since January 1, 2010.

Mr Brobbey said: ”I remember when the Trades Union Congress met with the President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo about a month ago, this was one of the issues they raised and the President gave a firm commitment to resolve the issue and asked his ministers to resolve it by November 30, this year, and thank God we have been able to resolve it”.

The Deputy Minister gave the assurance that, government would continue to engage the labour unions and act in good faith in dealing with them and asked for their continued co-operation in dealing with labour issues.

Mr Brobbey expressed appreciation to all the stakeholders for their cooperation in ensuring the peaceful resolution of the issue.

Dr Isaac Bampoe Addo, the Chairman of the Labour Forum, who doubles as the Executive Secretary of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOSSAG), on behalf of the Forum expressed appreciation to the government for the peaceful resolution of the matter.

He said the Forum started the struggle since October 2012, when the then Minister of Finance issued a fiat that, all public sector schemes should come under one umbrella.

This, he said, angered the labour unions and they protested vehemently.

”We thank God we have reached this far and we like to thank the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, because when we started this struggle it has been very tough and we thought the Deputy Minister will run away but he has been able to sustain the pressure, and today, we are seeing the reality which we though it’s a dream, ”he said.

He thanked President Akufo-Addo for honouring his promise, saying; ”Before he became the President he met the Forum and promised that, should he be voted as the President of the Republic of Ghana, he is going to make sure that, the issue is resolved and today, we’re seeing the reality of his promise”.

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, said government respected pensioners and that President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo was determined to create a fair and just society and create prosperity for all.

He said government was making good its promises and mentioned the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, payment of part of the arrears of the National Health Insurance Scheme, non-taxation of the minimum wage and government’s intention to reduce electricity tariffs next year.

He commended the stakeholders for their co-operation in resolving the issue which, hitherto, seemed impossible to settle and assured of government’s intention to act in good faith with workers.

Source: Ghana News Agency