NPRA Storms Central Region
The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) has engaged informal sector workers in the Central Region on pensions. The week-long outreach programme formed part of the Authority’s quest to improve informal pension coverage to eliminate old age poverty among informal workers in the country.
The outreach was on the theme “Pension for All” and sought to create awareness of pensions and educate the workers to understand and appreciate the need to prepare for retirement.
Mr Hayford Attah Krufi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NPRA during a forum with the informal workers, advised them to take keen interest in issues concerning their retirement to enjoy the benefits when they could no longer work. He said workers must begin to save from the onset of their youthful years to accumulate enough funds for strong financial security after retirement.
The CEO stressed that resources accrued from one’s hard work must be saved or invested, explaining “it is not every money generated that should be spent on short-term needs and ignore long-term plans like life after retirement.”
He said no amount of investment and savings for retirement must be considered little because any little amount could start retirement savings with any of the licensed trustees of the NPRA and enough funds could be accumulated at the time of retirement.
The CEO expressed concern about the wrong public perception that pension schemes were only designed for and targeted at salaried or government workers, saying every worker was entitled to a pension scheme. He explained that the third-tier pension scheme was voluntary, and applicants or beneficiaries could contribute any amount on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on their financial strength.
Mr Krufi assured the informal sector workers of the safety of their funds saying NPRA had instituted measures to protect the contributions of beneficiaries to enhance safe and fair returns.
Mr John Mbroh, Director of Standard and Compliance at NPRA added that the move by the Authority was geared towards eliminating old age poverty in the country through pensions. He said with the ten million population workforce, only 600,000 had enrolled on pension, thus about 85 percent of them were not on pension.
There was the need therefore to sensitize and educate the populace to better understand the importance of pensions for development. The Authority was poised to achieve pension inclusion to help resolve old age poverty after retirement, he assured.
Philomena Mensah, a Beautician in Cape Coast urged the NPRA to build trust and confidence in the informal sector workers to gain their participation.
She said paying money towards their pension was not a problem but receiving the funds after retirement was what was preventing them from contributing as informal sector workers and called for more education.
The team addressed members of the Local Council of Churches, the Muslim community, students and staff of tertiary educational institutions, Traditional Leaders, and Informal Sector Groups, among others.
There were Pension Fora for identifiable groups like the Driver Unions, Market Women, Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association, Tailors and Dressmakers Association, Ghana Hoteliers Association, the Ghana Enterprise Agency, and other Individual self-employed.
The Authority mounted stands at various markets and vantage points to explain pension matters and help address challenges in relation to pensions.