Swiss Government Project To Boost NPRA Operations Ends Successfully
In 2014, the Swiss Government commenced a project to support Ghana’s pensions industry to help enhance its governance, regulatory, and supervision operations to meet international best practices.
The two-phased project cost Switzerland 4.2 million Swiss Francs approximately 50 million Ghana Cedis.
The project was aimed at strengthening institutional capacity with regard to supervision and regulation including strengthening the NPRA’s governance and management structure, developing the NPRA’s legal and regulatory framework as well as supervisory compliance policy and program namely developing Risk-Based supervision (RBS) strategic framework among other elements.
Among other things, the project led by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and christened “SECO Project” was aimed to support Ghana in improving its three-tier pension system by further developing the NPRA’s internal management capacities, the operation of its regulatory, oversight and compliance enforcement functions.
At an impressive event to officially close the project, The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Bright Wereko-Brobby, in the speech read on his behalf, during the end of the project engagement with the stakeholders and the media, said the project marked a great milestone for the pension industry in Ghana and the NPRA.
He said pension supervision across the globe required, among other things, a dedicated focus on protecting the interests of pension fund members and beneficiaries, by promoting the stability, security and good governance of pension funds.
The Deputy Minister indicated that pension supervision involved the strict oversight of pension institutions such as Corporate Trustees, fund managers and custodians as well as scheme operators.
That, he said was done by the enforcement and promotion of adherence to compliance with regulations relating to the structure and operation of pension schemes.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NPRA, Mr Hayford Atta Krufi, expressed gratitude to the Switzerland government for support.
Mr Krufi said in 2014, the Swiss government came to the aid of the Authority with a grant of 2.4 million Swiss Francs under the SECO-sponsored project.
He said the phase one of the SECO Project was aimed at improving the regulatory functions and internal functioning of NPRA.
“Through this project support, the long-standing legacy problem associated with the transfer of TPFA was resolved. This indeed freed the hands of the Authority to focus on its core mandate. This phase also helped the Authority to embark on a sensitisation campaign across the country to create awareness of the new pension reform,” he stated.
The CEO said due to the successful implementation and completion of Phase I of the SECO Project and the positive impact the project had had on the Authority, and the industry at large, the Swiss Government initiated phase two of the project to continue the support to the National Pensions Regulatory Authority in helping to ensure retirement income security for the Ghanaian worker.
The CEO of NPRA said the key objective of Phase II was expected to help improve the Authority’s internal capacity and external oversight to enforce the compliance of service providers in the industry. This phase commenced in 2019, indicating that the second phase focused on delivering the RBS System for the industry.
“The deployment of RBS is to help streamline the supervisory and regulatory mandate of the Authority,” he stated.
The Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation for the Swiss Embassy in Accra, Dr Someone Haeberli, said her government was happy that all the objectives of the project had been achieved.
Dr Haeberli expressed the hope that the project would help the NPRA to better regulate players in the pensions industry.
In the words of the Deputy Minister, “Mr. Chairman, Distinguish Ladies and Gentlemen, the SECO project has, by and large, been successful with some of the key results as the training of the Board of Directors and Management of the Authority to help create synergies in governance and management of the Authority.
It also ensured the establishment and implementation of a Transitional Risk-Based Framework and supervision systems of the Authority. The project has enhanced the Authority’s supervisory compliance is strengthened, especially in its SSNIT oversight.
It is with this that we are all going to go forward with ensuring retirement income security for workers of this country.
We will forever be grateful to the Swiss government for this gesture.”