Business News of 2014-07-02

Public sector workers threaten strike

Public sector workers have given government a two-week ultimatum to rescind its decision to appoint Pension Alliance Trust (PAT) Ltd as the sole trust to run the 2nd Tier Pension Scheme for all workers on government payroll or face industrial strike.

According to the workers, government has no right to appoint a company that has not been licensed by National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) for all workers in the public sector.

Awotwi Nkansah, Deputy General Secretary of Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), who addressed the media on behalf of the various Labour Unions and Associations in Accra, said they would not allow government to transfer their money to a different scheme apart from the licensed ones.

He warned government to issue a directive for the transfer of funds to the four licensed pension schemes before July 14, 2014 or face the consequences.

The Pension Schemes, which are duly licensed by the NPRA, include Health Sector Occupational Pension Scheme, Ghana Education Service Occupational Pension Scheme, Judicial Service Occupational Pension Scheme and Hedge Master Trust Occupational Pension Scheme.

He said since 2012 when the idea of single trust was mooted by the then Minister for Finance, the various unions and associations have not relented in their efforts to draw government’s attention to the anomaly.

Mr. Nkansah said the public sector of Ghana comprises independent and autonomous services and therefore cannot be lumped together for the purpose of running the 2nd Tier Occupational Pension Scheme.

“The appointment of PAT as the sole trust could be described as blatant use of force in a situation whereby the government has not provided any guarantee to workers as regard the minimum lump-sum that they could be paid as beneficiary,” he said.

Mr. Nkansah said the 2nd Tier or the Occupational Pension Scheme is a defined contribution scheme under which the worker bears the brunt of any mismanagement of the pension funds, as well as the risk of investment.

“In as much as it would be morally wrong to take control of money that does not belong to you, we deem it puzzling that the government would find it convenient to unilaterally enter into a contract with Pension Alliance Trust to manage the contributions of each public service workers in the various public service.

“By imposing PAT on workers within the public services, government is needlessly boxing our members in the various public services into a corner in a scheme where the worker has the right to port that is, move membership to a trust of his/her choice,” he said.

Mr. Nkansah said should PAT be allowed to operate the 2nd Tier scheme on behalf of public sector workers, then that would be tantamount to the NPRA being tele-guided by government to take away the right of workers in the various public services to choose a trust of their own.

“We refuse to remain unconcerned when it is obvious that government’s action and inaction in the implementation of the mandatory Occupational Pension Scheme point to eventual collapse of the three tier pension scheme,” he said.

Source: Daily Guide
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