The Chief Executive Officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), Hayford Atta Krufi, has assured that adequate measures have been put in place to prudently invest pension funds of cocoa farmers under the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme to benefit contributors.
The scheme commenced on October 1, 2021 and is designed to cater for cocoa farmers after they retire from active work on their farms.
Assuring farmers that strict measures have been put in place to protect their funds, Mr. Krufi maintained that all operations of the scheme will be implemented in accordance with provisions of the NPRA.
“I can assure you that every contribution to the scheme is safe. The regulator has a constant monitory supervisory role over all the activities of the scheme, and our immediate mandate is to protect the farmers’ contributions,” he said at a media engagement with journalists in Accra.
Providing details of how the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme will work, Mr. Krufi stated that the fund will be governed by an 11-member Board of Trustees licenced by the NPRA.
To enhance transparency in its operations, he explained that the Board will include four cocoa farmer representatives nominated by farmers and one representative of the Licenced Buyers Association, as well as other industry players.
he added that the scheme has a fund custodian, fund managers and a fund administrator as service providers who are all independent of Cocobod and government.
“To further ensure transparency in work of the scheme, all service providers under the scheme are registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission and licenced by the NPRA,” he said.
Mode of contribution
Speaking on the procedures designed for farmers to make contributions into the scheme, Mr. Krufi announced that a registered farmer is required to make a mandatory 5 percent contribution of his or her produce while COCOBOD makes a 1 percent commitment to the fund.
He clarified that a farmer at his or her option may elect to make additional voluntary contributions ranging from 2.5 percent to 10 percent of the produce.
He stated that the farmers’ contribution will be deducted from proceeds of the produce at the sale point.
“I must say that 25 percent of the farmers’ total contribution will be credited to their Personal Savings Account and the remaining 75 percent credited to the retirement account established for the individual farmer.”
Mr. Krufi disclosed that a farmer qualifies for retirement after having contributed for five years, provided the farmer has attained the age of 55 years.
As part of measures to encourage more farmers to join the scheme, Mr. Krufi stated that an incentive has been imbedded in the scheme to allow farmers have access to 25 percent of their personal savings account balance prior to retirement.
“Thereafter, he or she may withdraw up to 20 percent of the personal savings account every two years after first withdrawal,” he said.