Sefwi wiawso embraces Voluntary 3rd Tier Pension Scheme

The people of Sefwi Wiawso have gladly welcomed the move by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to participate in a voluntary personal pension scheme after they were taken through a presentation on the 3-tier pension scheme. 

As part of an effort to get the informal sector workers onboard to equally enjoy retirement benefits, the NPRA on 14th June 2023 sensitized formal and informal sector workers on the need to prepare adequately to enjoy decent pensions when they are no longer in active service. 

The forum recorded over two hundred (200) participants both from the formal and informal sectors within the Wiawso Dwenasi catchment area. 

In a presentation carried out by the Assistant Manager of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Seth Sackey, he indicated that the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) acknowledges the essence to bring the informal sector workers on board to also enjoy retirement benefits, hence the voluntary 3rd tier pension scheme. He said that, previously pension benefits were only enjoyed by formal sector workers but now the Act has made it possible for the self-employed to also enjoy the same.

He stressed that even though the voluntary pension scheme is designed specifically for workers in the informal sector, formal sector workers are encouraged to participate in a provident fund or personal pension scheme.  He said Act 766 allows workers to invest 35% of their basic salary into pensions.  

He explained that 18.5% goes into the first-tier scheme (13.5%) and Second-tier scheme (5%) while the remaining 16.5% can be invested in the voluntary 3rd tier scheme. 

Mr. Sackey hinted that workers in the informal sector are given two accounts whenever they participate in the personal pension scheme, which are a retirement account and a personal savings account. 

He further stated that informal sector workers who participate can make a partial withdrawal to enhance their business after 5 years of contributing to the scheme. 

Participants were also advised to constantly check their statements and update their records with the various trustees to avoid any unforeseeable circumstances during and after retirement. 

The Zonal Manager, Mr. Richard Takyi-Mensah, in his remarks, emphasized the need to plan early for retirement to enjoy a decent pension. He said the ice water seller, the tomato seller, and the cocoa farmer can now contribute towards their retirement hence reducing the financial burden on their children. 

He further indicated that the NPRA has put in stringent measures to ensure that contributors’ funds are safe. He explained the tripartite management of the 3-tier pension scheme stating that the trustees handle the administration of the schemes while the pension fund managers and pension fund custodians handle the investment and custodial services respectively. 

Mr. Takyi-Mensah was optimistic that the inclusion of the informal sector workers in the 3-tier pension scheme will not only ensure that they receive decent retirement benefits but will also ensure that they will be able to meet their medical expenses in their old age.