Gambian delegation studies Ghana’s informal pension system

A ten-member team  working to formulate policies and programmes for pragmatic informal pension penetration in the Gambian informal economy and other social protection benefits last week visited the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA)  to understudy the Ghanaian Pensions System.

The five-day visit to the Authority also saw the team engaging some Corporate Trustees and the regional offices of the Authority on their operations.

The Gambia which has an estimated population of 2.8 million people has 80 per cent of its working force in the informal sector who are not on any form of pension scheme.

Welcoming the delegation, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NPRA, Mr John Mbroh announced that pension contributors under the third tier pension scheme, which is voluntary, could use part of their contributions to access mortgage.

He said individuals who had opted for the third-tier pension scheme had the option of contributing into a savings and pensions accounts under the personal pension schemes and a provident fund which provided them the opportunity to leverage their contributions to finance their primary residence.

Mr Mbroh noted that Ghana had come a long way in providing pension schemes for citizens within the informal economy which he described as work in progress and vibrant.

He said the Authority had initiated policies and programmes to collaborate with identifiable professional associations, religious groups and Trade Unions to enroll more workers in the informal economy on pension schemes.

The CEO said though the government had put in place social interventions to help cushion old-age people in society, much more needed to be done for retirees in the country to live in dignity during retirement.

“Pension schemes when well designed and patronised are known to be the most popular, reliable, and best practices to address the most significant challenges in old age in many countries.

Mr Mbroh noted that over the years, the NPRA had  worked hard to drum home Ghana’s pension agenda through outreach and sensitisation activities such as media engagements, stakeholder engagements, advertising, pension clinics, and market activations that had  been conducted across the country.

The Senior Operations Manager of The Gambian Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, Talibo Jassey, and the Head of the delegation expressed delight about the three-tier pension scheme Ghana operated.

He said Ghana’s efforts to penetrate into the informal economy with pension was commendable and called on the Authority to assist The Gambia to achieve same.

Mr Jassey indicated that the team had heard commendable reviews of the NPRA’s role as a regulatory body for both public and private pension schemes and said they hope to understand the strategies, mechanisms, and best practices that had contributed to the success of both public and private Pension Schemes in Ghana.

He noted that the team was in Ghana to gain insights into the operational framework of both public and private Pension Schemes and to understand the methodologies used for extending social protection to informal sector workers.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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