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04.03.2006 General News

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By GNA pave way for unified pension scheme Accra, March 3, GNA - The Presidential Commission set up by President John Agyekum Kufuor to examine ways to ensure retirement income security for public sector workers has recommended a review of the 1992 Constitution to allow for the creation of a unified pension scheme.

This, it said, was necessary to help avoid the inequities, which existed in parallel public sector schemes, and phase out the CAP 30. There should also be in place a strong, dynamic and independent national Pensions Regulatory Body, Mr Thomas A. Bediako, Chairman of the nine-member Commission, said during the presentation of its 210-page Final Report to the President at the Castle, Osu, on Friday.

The Commission inaugurated on August 4, 2004, presented its Interim Report on June 7, 2005 and President Kufuor directed that the Report should be widely publicised and subjected to public debate.

This culminated in the holding of meetings and collation of verbal and written reactions from various stakeholders, including the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Management, Ghana Universities Staff Superannuation Scheme (GUSSS), representatives of the Judiciary, Security Services, the Ghana Armed Forces as well as a special session with the Council of State and television and radio discussions.

There were also invitations of memoranda and petitions, special meetings with organised labour, employers associations, the informal sector ministries, departments, agencies, Ministers and the Controller and Accountant-General's Department.

Mr Bediako said it was also imperative for radical reforms in the SSNIT Pension Scheme in order to ensure better investment returns and bring down its administrative cost.

Again, there was the need for comprehensive review of the total compensation package of workers.

He said the Commission took into cognisance some basic principles for pensions reform, including the prevention of poverty in retirement, building an adequate retirement income for all, fiscal prudence and improving productivity, producing fair and equitable incomes and consensus building.

Mr. Bediako said they adopted a non-partisan participatory approach in carrying out their assignment.

Receiving the Report, President Kufuor said he would put in place an implementation body to work on it immediately so that a White Paper could be issued.

He said phasing out CAP 30 would make for equity and this would require a feasible transitional arrangement to facilitate this process. President Kufuor said low wages could not make for high pensions and for this reason Government would do what it could to improve on what existed now. 03 March 2006