The Health Sector Occupational Pension Scheme secretariat commissioned
Upon recommendation from National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), the regulators of pensions in Ghana, the board of trustees of the Health Sector Occupational Pension Scheme (HSOSP) deemed it necessary to set up a temporary office for the scheme to cater for its growing numbers and to solidify its preparedness for January 1 2020 when it will start paying lump sum benefits to its retired contributors under the 3 tier pension scheme.
A secretariat for the health sector occupational pension scheme (HSOPS) was
commissioned on the 5th of November, 2019 at Greater Accra GRNMA Secretariat, Zoti Junction, Behind Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
The commissioning ceremony began with an opening prayer by Rev. Michael Peasah from the Church of Pentecost, Abossey-Okai.
Present at the inauguration were dignitaries and invited guest which included the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour relations, Hon. Wereko-Brobbey, the board members of the scheme, the service providers of the scheme, unions under the scheme and the media.
In a welcome address by Dr Derek Amoateng, the Board Chairman of the Health Sector Occupational Pension scheme, he said that the current Board of Trustees which was inaugurated barely two years ago together with other boards of the government-sponsored ESS had a task to build on the foundation already laid by preceding BOT.
“We got to work immediately by first reviewing and strengthening the existing systems in the scheme and setting out new ones with the overall focus on securing and growing retirement income for health sector workers”, he said.
The Chairman mentioned a few achievements made by the board so far and it included the HSOPS website that is: www.hsopsghana.com which was launched over a year ago and also educational trips organized for its members across all the regional capitals.
“ In the year running, together with our administrator, the board has moved to every regional capital( several times in some regions), has met every major union, has taken part in managerial meeting and has encountered members in many health facilities all in the bid to meet this educational obligation”, he added.
Dr Amoateng assured contributors of the scheme that the Board of HSOPS was ready to take over payment of lump-sum come January 1, 2020.
“I must acknowledge, ladies and gentlemen that the TPFA as transferred to us in December 2017 continues to make impressive gains. We are actively working with NPRA, government, FORUM and other stakeholders to finalize the data on TPFA in order to allocate the funds and make them accessible to members beginning of January 2020”.
He, however, appealed to NPRA and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to engage and finalize with SSNIT on a possible harmonization of payment of various components of lump sum to ensure that contributors receive a substantial lump sum to give credence to the pension reforms.
In ending his address, the Chairman of HSOPS expressed gratitude to the leadership of GRNMA, for the allocation of a portion of land for the construction of the temporary secretariat and the Minister of Health, Hon. Agyemang-Manu for his support in that vein.
An appreciation plague was later presented to the President of GRNMA, Dr Kwaku Asante-Krobea.
In an address by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah which was read by his Deputy, he congratulated the current Board of Trustees of HSOPS for their commitment and dedication and encouraged them to continue working hard to achieve the best for the scheme.
The Minister stated that the traditional and best approach to achieving retirement income security consists of a pension, social security, and individual savings.
“Your pension helps you maintain your standard of living in retirement, and savings provides important supplemental income for unforeseen expenses”, he reiterated.
Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah also acknowledged the importance of pensions in the life of a Ghanaian and the economy as a whole (especially in tough economic times).
According to the Hon. Minister, as at the end of 2018, the pension industry in Ghana was worth over 22 billion cedis making up 7.41 per cent of the rebased gross domestic product (GDP) having risen from 6.9 billion in 2013.
The Minister also acknowledged the various stages and reforms of pensions in Ghana and the advert of the three-tier pension scheme in his address.
In the Minister’s closing remarks, he stated that government is committed to empowering the Pension Regulatory body that is NPRA to exert its full regulatory responsibility of pensions in Ghana in order to ensure that the reforms made are successful.
The commissioning ended with the cutting of tape to the secretariat by Hon. Wereku-Brobbey, the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on behalf of the Minister.