Mr. Chairman, Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State, Hon. Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corp, Distinguished Invited Guests, Fellow Diasporan, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.Mr. Chairman, Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State, Hon. Members of Parliament, Members of the Diplomatic Corp, Distinguished Invited Guests, Fellow Diasporan, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.I would begin by welcoming all of us to this Summit, and to extend a word of ‘akwaaba’ to all the Ghanaians in the diaspora who are here with us today.I consider it a privilege to be given the opportunity to address this Summit, and considering that I used to be resident in the UK, I feel very much a part of the proceedings here today. Indeed, the usefulness of this Summit cannot be over-emphasised, as it provides the chance for Ghanaian-residents to establish a positive and rewarding relationship with the Ghanaian diasporan community, and to harness capital, skills and other opportunities on offer by the diasporan community to enhance Ghana’s socio-economic development, as well as encourage investment in the country.The theme for this event summarises it all: ‘Development, Opportunity, Value’. In effect, it provides an opportunity for the diasporan community’s full participation in Ghana’s development process.
PENSION SCHEME PARTICIPATION
My address to this Summit is about retirement contribution framework in Ghana’s Pension structure in order to give yourself the needed Retirement Income Security for the future; and indeed, not just for yourselves, but also for your dependants and loved ones.Note that youthfulness is not permanent.Traditionally, the extended family and the community to a large extent, addressed the issue of looking after the aged, but this has come under extreme pressure due to urbanization, industrialization and migration. Pension schemes have now become the necessary substitute as an old-age security system for the aged, and also a modern mechanism to provide retirement income to the aged for maintenance of their standard of living.The primary objective of a Pension Scheme is to provide insurance against low income and wealth in old-age, and offer a mechanism for consumption smoothing (‘savings function’) across one’s lifetime, relieve poverty, and redistribute income and wealthA primary objective of a Pension design is to optimize old-age security, including the cost of providing it.
PENSION REFORM FEATURES
The features of Ghana’s current Pension System are as follows: A first-tier mandatory Basic National Social Security Scheme for all employees in both private and public sectors (no lump sum payment by SSNIT, only the payment of monthly pensions and related benefits such as survivors’ and invalidity benefits).A second-tier mandatory, fully-funded and privately managed occupational (or work-based) pension scheme, designed primarily to give contributors, a lump sum benefit to replace what was previously available under the SSNIT Scheme.A third-tier voluntary, fully funded and privately managed Provident Fund Scheme and Personal Pension Scheme, supported by tax incentives, to provide additional funds for contributors who want to make voluntary contributions to enhance their pension benefits.
The Personal Pension Scheme is particularly targeted at contributors in the Informal Sector who constitute over 85% of working population and the self-employed including Ghanaians in the diaspora.The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) is the Regulator for the Pensions Industry.Yesterday we learnt about 10% of Ghanaians are in the diaspora and it is the richest constituency. Contributing in remittance over $2billion annually.The diaspora is worth its gold and if this missing jigsaw piece is not added in Ghana’s transformation, we will always fall short of capital infusion.Modern economies have been built by large volume of Capital built in one pool from pensions funds. Currently in Ghana our domestic pension funds pool constitutes 12.5% of GDP.
It is against this background that I want to use the platform to launch a new pension scheme called The Diaspora Pension Scheme.This scheme is a win-win situation for the country as a huge capital pool for investment, and you the contributor as your pension savings when you return home.
- The scheme will be a defined contribution scheme which means it is pay as you go.
- It is voluntary, with the levels set up by your ability to pay.
- It will be tax free.
- It is savings which translate itself in compounded capital and investment.
- Being a contributor, you will also be assisting significantly in the economic development of the country.
- It will be a provision for your old-age poverty alleviation.
- It can be accessed from the age of 55 upwards.
- You can join from any part of the world.
We have experienced and well trusted Corporate Trustees who have got platforms upon which this Diaspora Pension Scheme can be built.
An example is the Enterprise Trustees Limited. (I brought Mr. Joe Ampofo here for those who might want to enquire further of the scheme set up).
It is useful to appreciate that for each passing day you are getting closer to returning home to retire. 67 may be too far away if you live in UK.
The best time to launch this scheme was 10 years ago, but the second best time is NOW.
We wish ourselves fruitful deliberations at this Summit, with the hope that, the outcome will advance the course of Ghana’s socioeconomic development.
Thank you all for your attention.