Protect our Pensions- CLOGSAG

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Civil and Local Government Staff Association, CLOGSAG asks the authorities to be proactive about the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Pensions and the Government’s White Paper thereon indicated that SSNIT as Managers of Tier-1 should be restricted in order for SSNIT to deliver on its mandate efficiently and effectively under the contributory 3-Tier Pensions Scheme.

Unfortunately, many years down the line compliance is a mirage, according to CLOGSAG.

”Several years have gone by but no attempt has been made to comply with the recommendations.

SSNIT needs to be restricted. Now is the time”.

This is contained in a statement to mark Workers Day.

Below is the full statement.

CLOGSAG 2023 MAY DAY MESSAGE SAFEGUARDING PENSION INCOMES NOW, TO AVOID OLD AGE CRISIS

May Day is celebrated annually to serve as a reminder to the working class that the current conditions of service were not achieved on a silver platter but through their struggles over the years.

Your legitimate support in various forms have gone a long way to actualize some of our dreams, ………..AYEKOO.  What is left is more than expected.  On this day, let us be energized to continue the struggle for better conditions of service and to join hands with other unions to protect pension funds and schemes.

Posterity would not forgive us, if we do not succeed in this endeavour. FORWARD EVER, FORWARD EVER.

 At this point in time where the country has been thrown into a crisis to the extent that pension arrangements are being threatened even though the contributory three-tier pension scheme has begun to yield positive results, it is very relevant and significant to maintain the existing Pension structure.

CLOGSAG is sending a warning signal to all forces, both visible and invisible, to steer clear of current Pension arrangements enshrined in the National Pensions Act,2008 (Act 766). He who has ears, let him hear this message.

The outcry of the Public Sector Workers especially teachers and civil servants during the beginning of the 21st century to be reverted onto government’s pension under either CAP (1951) or the Teachers’ Pension Ordinance 1952, led to the setting up of the Presidential Commission on Pensions (PCP) in 2004, chaired by Dr. T.A. Bediako of blessed memory.The Presidential Commission on Pensions was tasked to ascertain whether:

1.   The observation by workers that CAP 30 paid better lump sum or gratuity and monthly pension than SSNIT was accurate;

2.   All public sector workers could be placed on Cap 30; and if not

3.   A sustainable pension scheme should be proposed.

The Commission made profound findings and noted that:

1.   Workers generally believed that pension earnings were the responsibility of the employer and in this case, the government;

2.   Best practices all over the world showed that pension is a shared responsibility and, thus, the worker and employer ought to contribute towards an employee’s pension in a fully funded scheme;

3.   Cap 30 was not sustainable because it was not funded;

4.   Surprisingly, responsibilities of a worker do not diminish while on retirement;

5.   The lump sum payments under Cap 30 were far better than payments of lump sum earnings under SSNIT;

6.   Monthly pension earnings were virtually similar (SSNIT and Cap 30).

Some of the important recommendations by the Presidential Commission on Pensions included the following:

1.   As shared responsibility under pensions, workers should additionally contribute to a fully funded provident fund or a pension scheme;

2.   Since SSNIT was not paying good lump sum, the aspect of lump sum or gratuity payment ought to be taken away from SSNIT;

3.   That aspect was to be managed privately by trusts that are certified by a Regulator;

4.   A regulator should be established to oversee all pension schemes in the country.

The Commission emphasized that by contributing towards a 3-Tier pension scheme, workers would receive gratuities or lump sums that are comparable to or better than what is paid under Cap 30.

These recommendations were endorsed by the government.

Eventually these recommendations culminated into the National Pensions Act, 2008(Act 766).

As workers, we called for a better pensions scheme that would yield reasonable gratuities/lump sums and we had Act 766, therefore, we are enjoined to hold on steadfastly, passionately and jealously guard and protect Act 766 which is yielding positive results.

In spite of these obvious benefits under Act 766, CLOGSAG together with other FORUM members have had to surmount several obstacles in its implementation.

The Public Sector schemes in fending off Government’s attempts to impose its own private pension scheme on public sector employees, ended up in Court, where the government was seeking to justify its action and to restrain public sector workers from any industrial action relating to Tier-2 Pension management.

Finally, there was an out of court settlement that included the following:

1.      Composition of Board of Trustee;

2.      Deductions from Public Sector employees’ basic salaries towards Tier-2 Pension to be paid directly by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CADG) to the respective public sector schemes.

3.      Deductions that were in the Temporary pension Fund Account (TPFA) at Bank of Ghana to be transferred to the respective Public Sector Occupational Pension Schemes.

Recently, organized labour including CLOGSAG, had to negotiate with the government to exempt Pension Funds from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).

By incorporating an autonomous trust to administer and manage Tier-2 and Tier -3 Pension Schemes for members of CLOGSAG, it has been possible for them to get easy access to their records and avoid excessive charges.

Also, in the formative years of the schemes, CLOGSAG had to ward off shrewd consultants who attempted to control the privately managed schemes set up by the Association.

Lest we forget, our members who were in the service before January 1, 2010, have part of the Tier-2 fund in the form of past credits tin the custody of SSNIT adjusting interest rates on past credits, although below commercial rates.

We call on SSNIT to transfer all past credits of members within the public sector to their respective schemes as directed by the National Labour Commission (NLC) in 2020.

The Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Pensions and the Government’s White Paper thereon indicated that SSNIT as managers of Tier-1, should be restricted in order for SSNIT to deliver on its mandate efficiently and effectively under the contributory 3-Tier Pensions Scheme.

Several years have gone by but no attempt has been made to comply with the recommendations.

SSNIT needs to be restricted.

NOW is the time

Action NOW!

No more Delays!

Workers Arise and Protect Your Future!

On this May Day, we salute the Bediako Committee which brought us Act 766.  We resolve to resist and fight any force that would attempt to tamper with the National Pensions Act 2008 (Act 766).

HAPPY MAY DAY

Long Live Ghana!

Long Live Workers’ Solidarity!!

Long Live CLOGSAG!!!!

ISAAC BAMPOE ADDO

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY

Delivered by Executive Secretary, CLOGSAG on Monday, 1st May 2023.