Until recently, retirees enjoyed two pension schemes ? the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and Cap 30. However, workers? groups have raised concerns over the inadequacies of the two schemes.

Workers and pensioners have been particularly concerned with the pension that they enjoy from SSNIT. Reports abound that some retirees take less than GH?100 per month.

The concerns are not just about the low levels of the pensions but also the delay in the payments and the frustrations that retirees go through at the banks to cash their meagre pensions.

In 2004, the then government put in place the Presidential Commission on Pensions (PCP), headed by Mr T. A Bediako, charged with the responsibility of examining the current pension schemes and recommending sustainable pension schemes that will ensure retirement income security for all Ghanaian workers.

The commission recommended the creation of a new three-tier pension system, comprising two mandatory schemes and a voluntary scheme.

The government accepted the recommendations of the commission that the Cap 30 be phased out on grounds of unsustainability, the decentralisation of public sector pension management and the restructuring of SSNIT by overhauling its governance, management and administrative structures.

Although what was suggested by the PCP appeared to be somehow complex and difficult to comprehend by ordinary workers, workers? groups welcomed the move to reform pension schemes that hitherto offered no hope for a better pension for majority of working people.

After many years of agitation, SSNIT decided to increase pensions this year to a level that can only be described as a good beginning.

All is not well with the three-tier pension scheme though. Besides the lack of appreciation of the rules of the game by the players, the NPRA itself has come under severe criticism for not managing the funds well.

We expect the NPRA to come clean on the allegations that have been levelled against it for not paying good returns on workers? contributions. ?The NPRA has also been challenged to account for workers? funds in its custody.

The NPRA, as a regulator, must lead by example if it wants the fund managers to respect the rules of the game.

Be that as it may, the Daily Graphic welcomes the caution from the NPRA to the fund managers to disinvest funds invested in non- permitted investment areas immediately upon maturity.

According to the acting Chief Executive Officer of the NPRA, Mr Laud ?A.K. Senanu, compliance inspection had revealed that some fund managers had made investment in unapproved areas such as micro-finance and non-bank financial institutions to the tune of GH?32.1 million.

The pension scheme is a very big industry, with a very large capital base that must be regulated, otherwise its management would not only lead to the loss of livelihood for retirees but also cause the collapse of the economy.

The Daily Graphic calls on all working people, both in the formal and the informal sectors, to speak up against the mismanagement of the pension scheme to safeguard the future of retirees.

Daily Graphic ?Monday, 20 January 2014

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