The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) has taken a significant step towards decentralising its services by inaugurating a zonal office in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The Eastern Regional office is located directly across from the Region's House of Chiefs at Atekyem in Koforidua, and is the sixth regional office after Tamale, Sunyani, Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tema.
In an address during the inaugural session, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, the Minister for Employment, Labour Relations and Pensions, stated that the NPRA was making progress towards establishing offices in all regions of the country.
He added that the Koforidua office would now oversee administrative operations in the Eastern, Volta and Oti regions.
He said establishing zonal offices aimed at bringing vital information and assistance of pension related services to the doorsteps of pensioners as the pension industry is rapidly growing, highlighting the urgent need for the government to safeguard pension assetsThe NPRA was created under the National Pensions Act 2008, (Act 766) to oversee and
supervise the activities of the three-tier pension system and ensure efficient management of all pensions in the nation.
Mr. Hayford Atta Krufi, the CEO of NPRA, said the Authority had been making significant strides since 2010 in implementing the contributory 3-Tier Pension Scheme.
"We are mandated to carry out research and ensure the maintenance of a national data bank on pension matters, and to sensitise the public on matters related to the various pension schemesThese cannot be achieved without the
people having access to our offices," he said.
He said pension literacy had played a crucial role in the activities of NPRA and that a considerable proportion of Ghanaian workers, particularly those employed in the informal sectorwere found to be without any type of retirement.
"We will embark on our mandated visits to institutions and organisations to ensure strict compliance with pension operationsWe are not going to compromise on our standards,he said.
Mr. Krufi said the Authority was set to partner regulated pension institutions to guarantee that Ghanaian workers reaped the full benefits of their services.
He added that employers who have defaulted on payment of employers' contributions must correct all the mistakes.
He urged citizens in the catchment areas to take advantage of the offices and enquire about any pension for a better understanding and participation in pension matters in the country.
Citizens residing in the catchment areas were urged to make use of the available offices and seek information regarding pensions as this initiative aims to enhance their comprehension and involvement in pension-related issues
across the country.
Board Chair of the NPRA, Mr. Paul Simon Koranteng, also emphasised that the Authority had made significant progress in its efforts to promote the growth of the industry.
Upon assuming control of the Authority, he said it was discovered that the number of informal sector workers enrolled was approximately 100,000.
However, he said in a significant move towards social security, approximately 600,000 individuals, accounting for six percent of Ghana's informal workforce of 10 million, had been provided with pension coverage. He said the projections indicated that enrollment figures were expected to reach 2.5 million in the next three years.
In a groundbreaking partnership with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD)he stated, a pension scheme had been established for cocoa farmers in the country.