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NPRA’S Efforts To prosecute Defaulting Pension Companies

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NEWS COMMENTARY ON NPRA’S EFFORT TO PROSECUTE COMPANIES WHO FAIL TO PAY WORKERS PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS

Report that the National Pensions Regulatory Authority, NPRA has begun a process to prosecute 13 companies in the country for failing to honour any of the mandatory schemes for their workers is indeed pleasing to the ear.  What are the mandatory schemes? Ghana after the review of the pension laws now has three-tier schemes for workers. Tier one is the mandatory Social Security and National Insurance Trust, SSNIT, tier two which is also mandatory is occupational pension while the third tier, provident fund and personal pension schemes are voluntary and privately-managed by approved trustees licenced by the Authority.  What further gladdens the heart is the fact that the Authority now has prosecutorial power to arraign individuals and institutions before court whenever they commit any pension-related infractions.  Yes, employers who fail to pay pension contributions of their employees will now face the full rigours of the law.  Many employers for reasons best known to them continue to fail in the payment of pension contributions even though in some cases deductions are made.

  The 13 cases are the maiden set of prosecution the Authority will undertake since it was given the power to prosecute.  In his interactions with the media Chief Executive Officer of the NPRA, Hayford Attah Krofi said the Authority has identified the institutions and it is almost set to kick start the prosecution.   We must commend and encourage the NPRA in its efforts to protect the interest of workers and secure their future.  Most workers after sacrificing their lives to serve the nation go home with virtually nothing. This is mostly due to actions and inactions of employers who are mostly concerned about their profit margins at the detriment of the future of their workers.  It is, however, essential for the NPRA to ensure that its prosecutors are top-notch in terms of their professional skills so as to avoid challenges in deploying their prosecutorial power. It is in light of this, that we applaud the Authority for training some of its staff and empowered the legal department to start processing persistent offenders for prosecution.  The blatant disregard for pension laws and regulations by some employers is very bad and it is our hope that the prosecution will serve as a deterrent for others.

According to the NPRA Boss, there has also been a steady growth in pension funds under the reforms. As of December 2018, the Total Pension Fund has increased from about 20-point-7 billion Ghana Cedis in 2017 to 22-point-2 billion in 2018. This is made up of GH¢13.1 billion of Assets Under Management for Private Pension Funds and 9.1 billion of funds under the 1st -Tier scheme.  The prosecution of defaulters is a well come development and it is in the right direction. All well-meaning Ghanaian and workers, in particular, must hail the NPRA and offer the needed support to ensure that it succeeds in its prosecutorial endeavours.  It is the desire of every worker that one day when all is said and done and they have laid down their tools and salaries cease to hit their accounts the pension contributions will cushion them for the rest of their lives.

BY DOMINIC HLORDZI A JOURNALIST.

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