A team from the World Bank has visited Ghana to study the pension module being employed by People’s Pension Trust Ghana in ensuring informal sector workers across the country have a secured retirement during their non-working years.
The visit comes closely on the heels of another ongoing project between the company and the World Bank’s Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), to study behavioral patterns of rural folks in saving towards their retirement. PPT was selected for this program due to its innovativeness and approach in creating access for the informal sector to have a retirement income.
The team visited Osino and Heman both in the Fanteakwa district. At Osino, the President of the Farmer’s Cooperative, Mr. Humphrey Ayisi was appreciative of the work PPT had done since they came to the community. With a total membership of over 2,500, he indicated that about 800 of them had already signed onto the pension scheme. He also mentioned particularly the convenience and ease of access that PPT was offering them in registering and making payments with the introduction of the USSD codes.
In response to a question on the reasons for the non-participation by some of their members, Mr. Ayisi stated that the fraudulent activities of some Micro Finance Companies(MFIs) have raised skepticism among their members on the genuineness of financial products. He emphasized that a way to deal with that was to have physical presence in the community for which reason they had given PPT an office in their new building. Again, he said constant education on pensions and general financial education was needed to erase the many misconceptions people have, deepen trust, build confidence, and encourage people to realize the importance of saving towards their retirement.
In Heman, one of the communities where the CGAP program is currently running, members of the scheme who are also taking part in the project indicated that interventions like the reward system, nudge messages and sms notifications received upon contribution payment were great boosts for them to save substantial amounts on a frequent basis.
That notwithstanding they indicated that the education People’s Pension Trust had given them on pensions also propelled them to think about life after active work and prepare adequately towards it. They also attributed the disinterest by some of their members, again, to the issues of fraud by some Micro Finance Institutions and even Community Rural Banks. They also indicated that an office will be a great boost in getting more of their community members to trust the brand and were Osino will have one soon.
Roland from the National Pensions Regulatory Authority-NPRA assured them of the seriousness they attach to their supervisory role in ensuring all trustees adhere strictly to guidelines or risk having their license revoked. He encouraged the people to take the opportunity to save towards their retirement but contact them immediately should they have any questions or complaints.
The World Bank Group led by William Joseph Price indicated they were in the country for the next two years to introduce interventions and develop programs that will enable them to prepare adequately and conveniently for their financial security both now and in the future