Diasporan Pension Scheme gathers steam…two trustees secure licence to operate

The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) has certified two trustees who are ready to roll out the newly-launched Diasporan Pension Scheme, targeted at Ghanaians living abroad who hope to return home on a good pension.

Falling short of mentioning the two trustees, the Chief Executive Officer of the NPRA, Hayford Attah Krufi, noted that it is encouraging to see some trustees signing up to roll out the scheme, and called for more participation.

“So far, we have given licence to two and there is room for many more; and what is much more important is the quality of those getting involved,” he told the B&FT in an interview.

Launched in July this year, the Diasporan Pension Scheme is targetting the millions of Ghanaians living abroad from North to South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and other parts of the African continent.

Mr. Krufi said the Diasporan Pension scheme will be a win-win situation for the country, as it provides a huge capital pool for investment and pension savings for the contributors when they return home.

“The homecoming for Diasporans will not be complete without building up some investment at home in the form of pensions that they can retire to.

“The Diaspora is worth its gold, and if this missing jigsaw piece is not added in Ghana’s transformation we will always fall short of capital infusions,” he said.

Already, Ghanaians living abroad remit a lot of money – estimated at US$4billion per annum – for various purposes including taking care of family-members, real estate projects, and other forms of investment.

“They are the richest constituency and yet the most deprived when it comes to pension provision. As a nation, our quest for investment will be skewed if we do not provide for their pension or retirement income security,” Mr. Krufi said.

Set up as a voluntary contribution, the Diasporan Pension Scheme has levels set up by contributor’s ability to pay – and it is tax free. “It is savings which translates itself in compounded capital and investment – and being a contributor, you will also be assisting significantly in economic development of the country.”

Mr. Krufi explained further that the scheme will be a provision for old-age poverty alleviation; contributors can join from any part of the world and the scheme can be accessed for draw-down from the age of 55 upward.

“As regulators of the pension industry, we have robust compliance procedures to ensure that the investment is looked after safely. As part of our regulatory functions, we visit the premises of licenced corporate trustees and other pensions service providers to ensure scheme account statements, receipts for collections, investment portfolio reports, custodian reports on assets, minutes of trustees meetings, investment committee reportsm, and all IT infrastructure are up to speed to ensure the scheme’s safety and sustainability.”

A number of vehicles are available for interested contributors, including the Master Trust Provident Fund Scheme, Group Personal Pension Scheme or Personal Pension Scheme. The scheme, he said, is designed to have a representative of the Diasporan Relations Office at the Office of the President sit on its board of trustees.