Published on 20 July, 2017.
A12-member delegation, comprising members of parliament from Ugandan and the country’s National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has interacted with players of the social security industry in Ghana on pension reforms in Accra.
The Ugandans are in the process of amending their social security law to convert their Provident Fund to a Pension Scheme.
Members of the delegation shared knowledge about best practices in the management of social protection schemes with the Executive Management Team of SSNIT, the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and other 2nd and 3rd tier operators to gain insight into how the Trustees and Fund Managers of 1st, 2nd and 3rd tiers are being supervised in Ghana.
The MPs were Honourables Henry Musasizi, Charles Ilukor, Isaac Mulindwa, Anthony Akol, Patrick Isiagi, Mariam Naigaga, Joy Katali. The Officials from the NSSF were Messrs Louis Bakyenga, Isaac Ogwang, Richard Byarugaba and Mr Patrick Ayota and Ms. Harriet Apiny.
Addressing the delegation, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director General of SSNIT urged legislators and the technocrats to work together to fashion out laws that would safeguard social security funds for the benefit of the contributors.
He said good legislation is the bedrock on which social security schemes are built and when it comes to payment of benefits to members or beneficiaries, there is the need to deliver them quickly.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said the managements of social security schemes could focus on the laws that governed the fund, Information Technology and also Investment and Finance to enhance their operations.
He said social security funds should be safeguarded by effective legislation.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang said the challenges that face social security systems in Africa are similar which calls for the sharing of experiences among institutions in order not to re-invent the wheel.
He said with the promulgation of the National Pensions Act 2008 (ACT 766), SSNIT was tasked to administer the First Tier of the three-tier pension system.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang explained that under the First Tier, which is mandatory, SSNIT collects contributions from members to invest so that when they reach age 60, they would be paid monthly pension till they die. SSNIT also pays invalidity and survivors’ benefit.
He said the visit of Ugandan officials was not the first as SSNIT had the opportunity in the past to send staff to Uganda to study their system.
Mr Michael Addo, Deputy Director General, Finance and Administration, described the NSSF as one of the leading institutions in Uganda for capital formation and the only custodian of patient capital in the country.
He said the success of reforms of social security and retirement schemes is highly dependent on Political, Fiscal and Administrative drivers. He explained that Political commitment often triggered and sustained the reform with the necessary legislation and even enhanced and scaled up the reforms. The dividend is the entrenchment of the government’s legitimacy and continuity.
Mr Addo said Fiscal propriety sustains the reformed scheme and ensures its mandate when it matters most. He said funding structure and the instruments of sustainable funding is imperative.
“After all without fiscal independence and growth, social security will be but a hollow shell,” he maintained.
On administrative capacity, Mr Addo described it as the Third Pillar and the embodiment or manifestation of the governance capacity of the Board and management team.
“After all, what is a social security scheme if the elaborate laws cannot be judiciously implemented and executed in the interest of contributors,” he said.
Hon.Henry Musasizi, Chairman, Finance, Planning and Economic and Development Committee of the Ugandan Parliament said the delegation was in the country to benchmark on the implications of the three- tier Pension Scheme in Ghana.
He said the visit was also to enable members of the delegation to learn of best practices and reforms that Ghana has undertaken.
Mr Peter Hayibor, General Counsel of SSNIT, who took the delegation through Pension Reforms in Ghana and Enforcement and Compliance Challenges among other things, said pension funds tended to boom when economies prospered.
He reiterated the need for the members of the Board of Trustees of pension funds to possess the requisite skill set to discharge their duties professionally.