Parliament has approved the National Pensions (Amendment) Bill,2021, which seeks to amend the National Pensions Act,2008 (Act 766) to exclude the security services from the pension unification process envisaged under section 213 of Act 766.
According to the report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the National Pensions (Amendment)Bill, 2021, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations established a Joint Technical Committee on the Unification of Pensions to develop the required technical instruments for unification. As a result of the challenges associated with the unification process, it is necessary to amend Act 766.
The object of the bill is to exclude the Police Service, the Immigration Service, the Prisons Service, the Security and Intelligence Agencies and the Ghana National Fire Service from the unification of pensions.
Parliament’s Committee was informed that the subsection (2) of section 213 of Act 766 mandates the Board of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority to ensure unification of all pension schemes and the full operationalization of the Three-Tier pension scheme for all public sector workers, excluding the Ghana Armed Forces.
Further, an attempt at the unification of pensions during the payment of lump-sum benefits to the first batch of retirees from the security services under Tier 2 of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme in 2020 was fraught with massive employee data verification challenges, which stalled the entire unification process.
As a result of the challenges that emerged during the pension unification exercise and the unique nature of the security services in general, the Ministry recommended excluding the security agencies from the unification process to pave the way for establishing a separate regime to govern pensions in the security and intelligence sector.
The amendment the report states would automatically reinstate the previous occupational pension schemes of the security services under CAP 30, which was the source of inequities in the delivery of pensions in Ghana.
The Bill seeks to reinstate the following enactments and schemes which ceased to be in force under the National Pension Act,2008 (Act 776) : Ghana Police Pensions Act,1985 (PNDCL 165), Immigration Service Pensions Act,1986 (PNDCL 226),Prisons Service Pensions Act,1987 (PNDC 168),Section 34 of the Security and Intelligence agencies Act,1996 (Act 526) and Section 27 of the National Fire Service Act,2000 (Act 537).
The government was expected to institute measures to migrate beneficiaries of the associated public pension schemes onto the Three-Tier Pension Scheme by the expiration of the transitional period in 2014. However, by January 1,2015, the government had not put in place adequate measures for the unification of the public sector pensions.