CLOGSAG launches housing scheme for members
The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) Tuesday launched a housing scheme, which will allow members to secure funding to begin or complete construction of permanent places of residence.
The ‘Pempamsie’ Housing Scheme, in partnership with Hedge Pensions Trust, gives members a minimum mortage of 50,000 to undertake building projects in phases. It is intended to reduce the housing burden on workers in active service or after retirement.
Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, speaking at the launch in Accra, said the Scheme was as a result of discussions during Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) engagements between government and labour unions.
He said investment opportunities regarding pension funds were now “flexible”, therefore, managers of pension funds should come up with schemes that will be beneficial to members. Praising CLOGSAG and Hedge Pensions Trust for the initiative, he said workers demanded higher salaries as they spent about one third of their income on rent and accommodation.
To that end, Mr Baffour-Awuah believed the Scheme would help civil servants have “a reliable place of their own”, and to some extent reduce the demands made by workers on the Government.
He praised GCB Bank for being a part of the Scheme and asked the leadership of CLOGSAG to carefully roll out the plan so it did not adversely affect the financial standing of members.
“One of the beautiful things we have is that pension funds put together is well over 40 billion cedis as we speak, so if every pension fund is doing a little of what Hedge Pensions Trust is doing today, you call tell the number of housing schemes we will be bringing on board on annual basis,” he stated.
The Minister advised potential beneficiaries to be objective and not ” rush” the Scheme, which he said had been well-packaged. Mr Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary, CLOGSAG, lauded Hedge Pensions for taking steps to “actualise” the provisons under section 103 and 114 of the National Pensions Act, 2008, (Act 766).
“Acquisition of primary residence is not an event but a process. There could be a situation where a countributor may need assistance to complete his or her primary residence.
“There could be a situation where the person needs to acquire a plot of land to build a primary residence. Again, there could be a situation where a member could use his or her benefits to secure a mortgae or purchase a primarily residence.
“It is within this context that loans will be provided under the Pempamsie Housing Scheme,” he said. He said the Scheme had the approval of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and that beneficaries must be contributors to the CLOGSAG Fund and the Hedge Master Trust Occupational Pension Scheme (Tier 2).
Mr Benjamin Otto, President of CLOGSAG, described the initiative as “good news” to all contributors of the ‘Pempamsie’ Tier 3 Pension Fund as it would offer beneficaries the opportunity to begin the process of owning a primary residence of their own.
“A roof over the head of a worker is of primary importance especially when it is to be achieved through the benefit of the third tier of the pension scheme,” he said.
Mr Kojo Nkwantabisa, Head of Custody, GCB Bank, also praised CLOGSAG for the initiative and expressed the Bank’s commitment to working with partners to realise the objectives of the Scheme.
Mr Osei Agyemang Boakye, Head of Compliance, NPRA and Dr Charles Kessey, a Reprentative of the Office of Head of Civil Service, commended the “thoughtful” move, urging efficient management of the fund to avoid bankruptcy.
Story by Fada Amakye from Daily Sun106.com