Release Tier Two contribution, else - GNAT threatens

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Mr David Ofori Acheampong, General Secretary of GNAT, addressing the media. With him are Mr Richard Komla Sagodo (left), Head of Organisation and Administration, and Ms Phillippa Larsen, National President, both of GNAT
Mr David Ofori Acheampong, General Secretary of GNAT, addressing the media. With him are Mr Richard Komla Sagodo (left), Head of Organisation and Administration, and Ms Phillippa Larsen, National President, both of GNAT

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has given the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) a three-day ultimatum to release the bonds for the payment of GH¢1.7 billion Tier Two pension contributions of its members that has been in arrears since January 2010.

At a press conference in Accra Tuesday, the national executives of GNAT threatened that they would direct their members to embark on an indefinite sit-down strike across the country until such a time when the NPRA responded to its demand.

The General Secretary of GNAT, Mr David Ofori Acheampong, who addressed the press conference, further stressed that the association would advise the Board of the Ghana Education Service Occupational Pensions Scheme (GESOPS) to stop paying fees to the NPRA if the authority failed to meet the deadline.

There are more than 326,000 employees of the GES who are part of the GESOPS.

Mr Acheampong, who was flanked by the National President of GNAT, Ms Philippa Larsen, and other officers of the teacher body, added that the association would commence a series of actions, including demonstrations, when schools reopened for the 2018/19 academic year.

“We have waited for far too long, and it appears our patience is running out. We have been compelled to take this line of action because the NPRA, which is the regulator, has turned itself into a fund manager and custodian, which is unacceptable,” he said.


Recall

Between 2012 and 2016 when the GESOPS was established, the interest rate was about 25 per cent and the Bank of Ghana was investing the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA) at the discounted 91-day treasury bill rate of less than 10 per cent.

In October 2014, public sector employees embarked on a strike to demand the release of the TPFA, as well as the monthly contributions.

In the ensuing brouhaha, the government took the unions in the public sector, including teacher unions, to court, but the issue was later resolved through an out-of-court settlement.

The High Court asked the parties to take steps to implement a road map that included the transfer of five per cent of the employees’ contribution for Tier Two.

Twist of events

Mr Acheampong explained that the transfer of five per cent of employees’ contribution was to have started in April 2016, while the TPFA was also to have come on stream in July 2016.

“The Public Sector Scheme Trust Boards were constituted in December 2015 and inaugurated in April 2016, but it was not until November 2016 that the contributions for September and October were transferred to the scheme, leaving an outstanding 80 months arrears from January 2010 to August, 2016,” he explained.

Mr Acheampong added that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, made good his promise to transfer the 80 months contributory arrears in November, 2017 when bonds were issued to settle the GH¢1.7 billion to the GESOPS.

“The Ministry of Finance handed over the bonds to the NPRA to be given to the custodian bank, but despite that directive, the NPRA has still not done so, with the excuse that they are going to engage the consultant to produce data before they release the bonds.

“However, without data, the NPRA has released the share of the TPFA in bonds to the other three public sector schemes,” he said.