The Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Secretariat of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) is implementing the “agenda catch them young’ initiative to increase pension scheme enrolments among informal sector workers.
In the interim, Mr William Ohene-Adjei, the Regional Manager of the Authority, said the initiative was to whip up the interests of students in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions in the three regions to register and join the informal sector pension schemes.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani on the activities of the Authority, Mr Ohene-Adjei said the informal sector pension schemes had no age limit or requirement, hence the need to inspire the students to register and enroll to benefit.
“These students are targeted because many of them will soon complete and establish their own businesses because TVET education provides employable skill training and ready and immediate jobs for the youth”, he said.
Mr Ohene-Adjei indicated that as the engine of national growth and development, the private or informal sector contributed between 75 and 85 per cent of the nation’s workforce, but regretted that only about four percent was registered and actively contributing to pension schemes.
“That is why we have to re-focus and direct attention to the informal sector to empower workers to understand the essence and relevance of joining pension schemes in their own interest,” he stated.
Mr Ohene-Adjei said the Authority had strengthened collaboration with religious bodies and traditional authorities, saying “last year we were able to visit and intensify pension education in churches and local communities to inspire the informal sector workers to register.”
Describing 2023 as an action year, the Regional Manager said the Authority in the three regions had scale up outreach programmes, targeting carpenters, masons, market women and other artisanal workers.
Informal sector pension schemes, he added, remained flexible and beneficial, saying because contributors in the sector had savings and retirement accounts, they could withdraw some deposits after five years of contributing into their savings account.
“Contributors registered under informal sector pension schemes can also contribute any amount depending on their financial strength”, he said, and advised workers in the sector to join the pension scheme to provide them sound financial security on retirement.
The NPRA was set up by the National Pensions Act, (Act 247), 2008, to provide pension reforms in the country by introducing the Tier Three pension schemes and it oversees the administration and management of registered pension schemes of registered Trustees, including the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).