Head-Corporate Affairs, NPRA, Nana Sifa Twum has noted that challenges facing the nation in pension penetration into the informal sector is because pensions in Ghana were set up on a wrong premise, with the notion that only formal workers can be on a pension.
He said this is why we have about nine million people working in the country who are not on pension schemes. He observed that between the next five and ten years, many people will retire into poverty if this is not checked.
Nana Sifa Twum spoke during the launch of Pension Sunday at the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Osu, Accra.
Pension Sunday is a collaboration between the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
Among other things, the Authority and church will jointly educate and sensitise church members to improve pension literacy and enhance pensions coverage in the country.
The first Sunday of every October will be observed in all 5,000 Presbyterian congregations across the country as Pension Sunday, to create awareness among members and non-members alike to understand, appreciate and participate in contributing to pension schemes.
He said it is estimated that about eighty-five percent of the working population in the country is found in the information sector, and this paints a very gloomy picture of the Ghanaian workforce – and added that out of this figure there was less than one percent on a pension scheme before; but the NPRA has worked hard to bring about seven percent of them onto pension schemes.
“Many pragmatic programmes have been put in place by the Authority to raise the figure to about 25 percent in the next five years,” he noted.
He was of the view that the consequences will be dire for the entire nation if nothing is done about it – adding that we need to avoid this, which is why this collaboration with the Presbyterian Church is deemed crucial by the Authority.
He said the situation has created huge misunderstanding samong the populace, but expressed joy that the NPRA is correcting this error by encouraging Ghanaians to accept pensions as part of human life.
“There are two inevitable things in life, one will have to die and/or retire; and these require pragmatic preparations,” he observed. He said the 2010 National Pensions Reforms have provided the NPRA a mandate to help increase pension literacy and coverage in the country.
Nana Sifa Twum noted that many old people try to keep their souls young, but it still quivers for obvious reasons. “Rightly so, nature cannot be cheated as the saying goes. If there are no preparations toward old age, and retirement for that matter, old age becomes more of a nuisance than the blessing God wants old age to be. That’s why it is said that “if you fail to prepare, you rather prepare to fail.”
He announced that the Authority is working towards replicating Pensions Sunday in all churches.
He said the NPRA has put in place plans to enable pension plans to provide guaranteed, monthly income for life to all workers, both in the formal and informal sector, which makes financial security in retirement much more achievable for those who have them.
Launching the programme, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Professor Right Reverend J.O.Y Mante, expressed optimism that the programme will bring about the needed awareness among Ghanaians, especially, members of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and to whip up their enthusiasm to plan for their retirement.
He said the bible requires Christians to live in dignity and be financially sound, and therefore the programme has come at the right time when people will prepare well toward their retirement.
Right Reverend Mante explained that the church works toward the holistic well-being of its members; and as members are fed with spiritual information and assistance, they must also be well-educated to live lives of high repute and dignity.
He called on leadership of Presbyterian churches in the country to liaise with the NPRA in the regions to make this effective and successful.
He also appealed for government to institute every October as Pension Month to create awareness on pension matters – adding that pensions help one to maintain his or her standard of living in retirement; and savings provide an important supplemental income for unforeseen expenses.