Vice President to help digitize NPRA operations
The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has declared his intentions to pragmatically assist in positioning the National Pensions regulatory authority (NPRA) in its operations.
He said pension forms an integral part of the economy and there is a need to make it credible and relevant to help improve the nation’s economy.
In view of this, Dr Bawumia will assist the NRA to digitalise its operations, to be better placed in rolling out attractive and credible pension schemes, particularly for people in the informal sector.
The Vice-President gave the assurance when the Miniter for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Board Chairman of the Authority, Simon Koranteng, led the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hayford Attah Krufi and the Management of the authority to pay a courtesy call on him at his office at the Jubilee House.
The NPRA regulates and monitors the implementation of the Basic National Social Security Scheme, carries out research and ensures the maintenance of a national databank on pension matters. It is also to approve, regulate and monitor trustees, pension fund managers, custodians and other institutions that deal with pensions as it may determine.
Dr Bawumia said a well-regulated and functioning pension system is a major driver for investment and development,” Dr Bawumia said.
“I am keenly interested in the growth of the pensions industry and we are ready to help you work on the appropriate technology, software and designs to help achieve your objectives, especially in reaching people in the very large informal sector”. he noted
Vice-President Bawumia expressed the view that repositioning the Authority well to roll out attractive and credible pension schemes, particularly for people in the informal sector will help alleviate old-age poverty
Mr Baffour-Awuah statically said the informal sector employs the largest workforce in the country which is about 80% of the population, yet their participation in pension schemes has been low.
If observed that as of the end of 2021, the informal sector has an active working population of about 10 million, but only about 6% is on pension schemes a situation he described as worrying.
Management considers that a national issue and is putting in place strategies to improve the situation. Because of the importance and urgency of this, I have personally been involved in pursuing this agenda to create the needed awareness of pension issues in the country.
“This is why such a move from the office of the Vice President to assist in this direction is welcome.” He emphasised.
The CEO, Mr Hayford Attah Krufi, said the Authority has noted with admiration the efforts of the Vice President in his quest to digitize the Ghanaian economy and sadi the Authority would leverage on that to enhance its operations.
He hinted that the Authority is in the process of introducing a Risk-Based Supervisory system to automate the industry and also move away from compliance-based to risk-based supervision.
Mr Krufi said the NPRA has made some modest gains within its 12 years of establishment. This he noted includes the opening of five offices across the country within the last 4 years and one more to be opened this year at Koforidua.
He disclosed that there has been a tremendous increase in Assets Under Management (AUM) to 39 billion Ghana Cedis as of December 2021
The Authority has gained prosecutorial powers which have led to the retrieval of nearly 11 million Ghana Cedis from defaulting employers.
Outlining plans for the future of the Authority, Mr Krufi noted that a 5-year strategic plan has been developed with the focus on penetrating the informal sector to increase coverage to about 25 per cent as well as increasing AUM to 50 million by 2026.
He said the Authority in collaboration with the COCOBOD has started working to enrol about 1.5 million cocoa farmers on pension in the next three years.
He said pragmatic plans are in place to work with some identifiable groups such as the Driver Unions, The Ghana Football Association, Ghana Enterprise Agency (NBSSI), Ghana Tourist Board, The Office of the Chief Imam, and The Christian Council, to help increase pension coverage in the informal sector.
“We have also introduced an annual National Pensions Awareness Week as a major sensitisation tool.” He observed.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NPRA Mr Paul Simon Koranteng expressed the Authority's gratitude to the Vice President for the efforts he has put in to address the issues in the pension unification in the country adding that the town hall meetings initiated by the Vice President to engage stakeholders in this direction have yielded some positive results hoping to get to the very conclusion of the issue.
He also thanked the Dr Bawumia for spearheading the Cocoa Farmers Pension scheme. “Your engagement with the National Economic Management Team on this is great.” He added