Swiss financed project with NPRA ends


By Patience Gbeze

Accra, June 11, GNA – A Swiss financed project, being undertaken in collaboration with the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to acquire the necessary technical expertise and knowledge to effectively regulate the growing pensions industry in Ghana has ended.  

The NPRA through the Government of Ghana requested support from the Swiss government through the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to provide the needed capacity for the Authority to help it become a credible regulator.   

A total of GHC 50 million cedis grant has so far been disbursed from 2014 on the two-phased project aimed at strengthening institutional capacity with regards to supervision and regulation, including strengthening the NPRA’s governance, and management structure.  

It also aimed at developing the Authority’s legal and regulatory framework as well as supervisory compliance policy and programme, including developing Risk-Based supervision (RBS) strategic framework among other elements.  

Mr Hayford Attah Krufi, the Chief Executive Officer, NPRA said, the project has been of immense benefit to the Authority in diverse ways.  

He expressed the hope that the knowledge acquired under the Board and Management training workshops would strengthen the governance structure of the Authority, enhance institutional capacity, and improve the Authority’s general assessment on the IOPS principles.  

He said in 2014, the Swiss Government came to the aid of the Authority with a grant of 2.4 million Swiss Francs under the first phase of the SECO-sponsored project to improve the regulatory functions and internal functioning of NPRA.   

“Through this project support, the long-standing legacy problem associated with the transfer of TPFA was resolved. This indeed freed the hands of the Authority to focus on its core mandate.   

“This phase also helped the Authority to embark on a sensitization campaign across the country to create awareness of the new pension reform,” he said.  

Mr Krufi noted that due to the successful implementation and completion of Phase I of the SECO Project and the positive impact the Project has had on the Authority and the industry at large, the Swiss Government initiated Phase II of the Project to continue the support to the Authority in helping to ensure retirement income security for the Ghanaian worker.   

The key objective of Phase II, which commenced in 2019 to 2022, was to help improve the Authority’s internal capacity and external oversight to enforce compliance of service providers in the industry.  

He said the project has better positioned the Authority to technically supervise and regulate and expressed the Authority’s profound gratitude to the Swiss Government for the support, which has strengthened the governance structure of the Authority and enhanced its supervision and regulatory functions.   

“The Authority is also grateful to the Government of Ghana and its agencies who also provided assistance and support to facilitate the implementation of the project.  

Dr Simone Haeberli, the Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation for the Swiss Embassy in Accra, said the project achieved inter alia the establishment of a Risk-Based Supervision System to provide efficient and effective supervision and regulatory oversight of the entire pension industry.  

She said: “The project has been successfully completed with some of the key results but not limited to the following: Training of the Board of Directors and Management of the Authority to help create synergies in governance and management of the Authority.  

Others include the establishment and implementation of a Transitional Risk-Based Framework and supervision systems of the Authority.   

She said the Authority’s supervisory compliance was also strengthened, especially in its SSNIT oversight and commended them for implementing a successful project.  

In a speech read on behalf of the Deputy Minister for Employment, Labour Relations and Pensions, Mr Bright Wireko-Brobby, reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring a better pension regime for Ghanaians.  

He said pension supervision across the globe requires among other things, a dedicated focus on protecting the interests of pension fund members and beneficiaries, by promoting the stability, security and good governance of pension funds.  

“Pension supervision, therefore, involves the strict oversight of pension institutions such as Corporate Trustees, Fund Managers and Custodians as well as scheme operators.   

“This is done by the enforcement and promotion of adherence to compliance with regulations relating to the structure and operation of pension,” he added.  

He said: “Achieving stability within the pension sector is an important part of securing the stability of the financial system as a whole (as investments made by pension funds have a major impact on the real economy in many countries).”  

Pension supervision, the Deputy Minister said, includes the monitoring of the activities of pension schemes and funds to ensure that they remain within the requirements of the regulatory framework.  

Mr Wireko-Brobby , therefore expressed the hope that the solid foundation laid for effective and efficient regulation of pensions in Ghana through the project will bear fruit not only to grow the pension industry in the country, but also importantly to sustain and build a formidable economy through the pensions system.  

“As we are all aware, the provision of pensions is of fundamental economic and social importance to the citizenry, to ensure the successful delivery of adequate retirement income,” she said.  

In 2008, Ghana’s pension system was reformed with the passage of the National Pensions Act 2008 (Act 766). The Act introduced the contributory 3-Tier Pension Scheme and established the NPRA, among other key provisions that seek to improve the country’s pension benefits and administration.   

As a young regulatory institution in the financial sector mandated to regulate pensions administration in the country, the NPRA needed to acquire the necessary technical expertise and knowledge to effectively regulate the growing pensions industry in Ghana.  

The NPRA is dedicated to supervising and regulating as well as the development of the pension industry and as a young regulator, the Authority faced some challenges in meeting its mandate, hence the project to build capacity and systems to effectively deliver on its mandate.  



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