The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana have begun reconciling the escrow account dubbed the Temporary Pensions Fund Account (TPFA), in which the second tier pension contributions of public sector workers have been lodged over the years.
The move is intended, among other things, to bring to rest, the disagreements over the actual amount that has accrued to the account, including the interest, over the period.
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who announced this at a news conference in Accra yesterday, said “to ensure transparency in the process, we are ready to allow the representatives of labour groups to be part of the exercise”.
The amount accrued to the account has become a thorny issue as the right figure is still unknown to the labour groups.
While some government officials are quoting GH¢450 million, labour and civil society groups are of the view that at the prevailing Treasury Bill rate at an average of 20 per cent for the one-year note, the amount lodged in the account should be more than GH¢1.5 billion.
But the Employment and Labour Minister said the reconciliation of the account would reveal the actual amount and called for patience on the part of labour in that regard.
“Let me assure Ghanaians that all payments into the TPFA is in the custody of the Bank of Ghana and no monies have been disbursed from that account to any entity, as is being maliciously claimed by some interest groups,” he said.
He also reiterated that no monies had been paid to the Pensions Alliance Trust, adding that “the government is willing to review the role of the trust as trustees in relation to the management of the second tier fund”.
Organised labour entered into the third day of its strike yesterday as it refused to back down on its demand for the government to allow it to run its own occupational pension schemes under the tier two of the National Pension Act 2008 (Act 766).
“We note that it has taken too long to get a solution. I assure organised labour that there is a solution and that pensions issues are very complex and fundamentally important,” Mr Iddrisu said, adding, “It is better to take the right decisions in a long time than a quick decision that may affect retirees who have served the public service with dedication.”
Pension fund management
On the issue of the management of the tier two scheme as proposed by organised labour, Mr Iddrisu said the “concern of the government is the associated future risk in the event of mismanagement/mis-investment of pensions funds by the player; It is important for Ghanaian workers to note that in retirement you will not belong to a union, you are on your own”.
Mr Iddrisu said “at least you can trust and rely on the government as a guarantor and sponsor of your social security; we are talking about income security of Ghanaians when they retire and they no longer belong to workers’ unions”.