13.05.2005 General News

Insurance Commissioner calls for Pension Regulatory Authority

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Accra, May 13, GNA - Ms Josephine Amoah, Insurance Commissioner, on Friday expressed an urgent need for a pension's regulatory authority to regulate both state and private pension schemes.

Such an authority would ensure, among other things that funds of pension schemes were actuarially valued regularly with the right and qualified persons, and the investment of the fund was well diversified to maximise security, liquidity and yield.

Ms Amoah made the call at the closing ceremony in Accra of a five-day international training course on Pension Reforms organised jointly by the Crown Agents Financials Services Limited and the National Insurance Commission, Ghana (NIC).

Eighteen participants from Ghana and Sierra Leone, including six women, who were managers of state enterprises or organisations going through a privatisation process attended the course.

Ms Amoah observed that any increase in patronage in retirement and long-term schemes would only be marginal if schemes being operated were not re-structured to make way for transparency, good governance and accountability, because of prejudices about pensions and other insurance schemes.

She suggested that universal life policies could be arranged to support both occupational and personal pension plans, saying attractive tax incentive had been provided in the Long-Term Savings Law to encourage employers and employees to patronise long-term savings products.

Ms Amoah, who also participated in the course, urged the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SNNIT) and other insurance companies to structure pension plans that would suit the peculiar circumstances of the informal sector, as well as different interest groups.

She said companies, which had Provident Funds should consider taking advantage of the tax incentives provided to convert them into long-term savings schemes supported by retirement plans.

The Insurance Commissioner underscored the need to start preparing and making financial provision for retirement, and counsel people to handle their immense free time they had when they retired. Mr Thomas Ango Bediako, Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Pensions, who chaired the closing ceremony, said the Commission had not yet submitted any Interim Report.

He, however, said the Commission recognised the anxiety over the outcome of its work, adding that the Office of the President would give information when the report was received.

Mr Sam Brandful, Country Manager of the Crown Agents, said the objective of the course was to equip them to formulate pensions policy in their own environment, participate in the process of revising and implementing new legislation, and manage the administrative aspects of pension schemes, among others.

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