Ghana has enlisted Switzerland’s help in resolving a number of organisational challenges involving the implementation of a new three-pillar pension system.
Switzerland-based consultancy HSP, under a mandate from the Swiss government, is to assist the Ghanaian government to put in place a number of supervisory structures.
Under a new law, the African country created a central supervisory body called the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), with a three-party board of directors including representatives of the government as well as the social partners.
Jaap van Dam, a partner at HSP, said: “The organisation is young, and still characterised by weak capacities, which complicates the smooth and timely implementation of the reform.”
He added that, in addition to basic organisational issues such as housing, staffing, training, communications and funding, the NPRA has to deal with discussions on interpretation of the new legal and regulatory structures.
“One challenge will certainly be the fact the whole banking and stock exchange system in Ghana is still very young, which means there are not many investment opportunities as yet,” van Dam told IPE.
Until now, the Social Security & National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), established in 1972 to administer the first pillar, had been “one of the largest investors in Ghana, especially in real estate and local companies”.
In 2010, the 25m West African nation started to implement a pension reform passed in 2008 to introduce a three-pillar system.
The second pillar is mandatory for all companies with employees in the “formal sector”.
According to a paper van Dam published on the Ghanaian reform, the African country had been looking into various pension models around the world and decided to base its new system on the Swiss model.
In 2009, the Ghanaian Presidential Reform Implementation Committee visited Switzerland, and, following that, the government of Ghana invited the Swiss government to support the strengthening of the NPRA, said van Dam.
Two reports were commissioned, one by Mercer on the pension system in Ghana and one by PwC to identify the most urgent needs at the NPRA.
Based on those assessments, the NPRA and the Swiss Ministry for Economic Affairs (SECO) drafted a three-year project that started this year with the aim of strengthening the supervisory body and improving its internal organisation.
For this purpose, two advisers and a project manager will be placed in the NPRA. These positions are currently procured in a public open tender.
The tender documents (keyword ‘Ghana’ – project number 108934) are available at www.simap.ch, the official platform for public procurements at the Swiss government.