We’ve not agreed to support banks with pension funds – Registered Pension Schemes

The Forum for Public Sector Registered Pension Schemes, has disputed the government’s claim that it has reached an agreement with some private pension fund managers to use their funds to support some indigenous banks with the creation of the Ghana Amalgamated Trust (GAT).

After a meeting on Wednesday, worker unions called on the government to come clean on its plans for the pensions.

The Executive Secretary of the Public Sector Registered Pension Schemes, Isaac Bampoe-Addo, stated that “so far, we as trustees have not approved any investment related to GAT.”

“We want to assure our members that no pension funds have been moved to GAT and that the per the NPRA guidelines, any investment that pension funds are used for must first be approved by the trustees.”

Government through a new entity known as the Ghana Amalgamated Trust is expected to inject some 2 billion cedis of private pension funds into five indigenous banks struggling to meet the Bank of Ghana’s 400 million cedis minimum capital requirement.

The Ghana Amalgamated Trust was introduced by the Ministry of Finance to support well-run but under-capitalised banks to meet the new minimum capital requirement as part of the banking sector clean-up.

The five beneficiary banks are ADB, NIB, merged Omni Bank and Sahel Sahara, Universal Merchant Bank, and Prudential Bank.
But the government has said the five banks being cushioned under the Ghana Amalgamated Trust arrangement must not consider the support they are receiving as a bailout.

Misgivings about GAT

The plan to use the pension funds has received some criticism from unions and observers.

President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu said his outfit will not allow the government to take over the scheme contributors fought hard to establish.

“Happily, next week all Public Sector Unions are holding a meeting to take a common decision to protect the funds of our workers. We would have to be very careful with the government’s unbridled interference in SSNIT over the years, using workers’ money to support dead projects and agenda that did not give any returns to workers”.

The Ghana Federation of Labour also said the move was dangerous and called for a rethink of such plans.

Its Deputy Secretary-General, Kenneth Koomson said “the trustees are given the right to take such decisions that will inure to the benefit of the fund owners and we expect that they will take the right decision, but it looks like there is a certain arrangement to present the GAT as a worthy investment arrangement and we think it is quite dangerous.”
By: Kojo Agyeman & Delali Adogla-Bessa | | Ghana