Accra, Oct 26, GNA – Government has asked the striking public sector workers over the management of the Second Tier Pension Scheme, to remain calm and let dialogue resolve the impasse.
A statement issued by the government during a media encounter in Accra appealed to organised labour and social partners to return to work whilst a collective solution to the stalemate is found.
It said the Executive has taken too long to get a solution but assured organised labour that there is a solution in sight and that pension issues are very complex and fundamentally important.
“It is better to take the right decision in a long time than a quick decision that may affect retirees who have served the Public Service in dedication.
“Indeed, government has responded more positively to many of the contentious issues including: Government accepting to review the National Pension Act to deal with past credit and age; Government’s readiness and willingness to transfer money to the TPFA(Temporal Pension Fund Account) and to disburse it as soon as the structure and mechanisms are put in place,” the statement said.
The statement promised the workers that all payments into the TPFA is in the custody of the Bank of Ghana and no monies have been disbursed from that account to any entity “as is being maliciously claimed by some interest groups”.
“No monies have been paid to Pension Alliance Trust. Government is willing to review the role of Pension Alliance Trust as Trustees in relation to the management of the Second Tier Fund.
“The concern of Government is the associated future risk in the event of mismanagement/mis-investment of Pension Funds by any player. It is important for Ghanaian workers to note that in retirement you will not belong to a union.
“You are on your own. At least you can trust and rely on government as a guarantor and sponsor of your social security. We are talking about the income security of Ghanaians when they retire, and they no longer belong to workers’ unions.”
It said Government would continue to protect principles of the Second Tier Pension, which require funds invested under the tier to be paid in cumulative value and accrued interest.
“Government wishes to assure public sector workers that it takes full responsibility of the management and security of all public sector pension funds and will disburse the monies sitting at the bank of Ghana to accredited schemes and will be resolved by the two parties; namely government and workers.
“Government undertakes to pay and guarantees to pay to deserving workers who will be entitled to pension benefits come January 2015 as they retire.
“If you cannot (workers) trust government, who can you? Government is the best and most reliable guarantor of all Social Security and Pension benefits. We will work to establish the vehicle to manage the second Tier Pension Fund. Government intends to do this in partnership with public sector workers.
“Government, through the Attorney General intends to proceed to court to seek a proper interpretation on aspects of provisions of the Act and some clarifications on the Second Tier Pension Scheme.
“The Ministry of Employment on behalf of Government as employer has also lodged a formal complaint at the National Labour Commission as the action of the Public Sector Workers is in contravention of Act 651 of 2008.
“We need as argued by labour to find an urgent settlement to this matter. However, government does not accept the operation of the Second Tier Pension Scheme registered by the four named unions or associations to operate in its current form,” the statement said.
It said Government is willing to work and negotiate with the unions to improve it in the best interest of all parties, particularly to safeguard any unforeseen future risk.