Hayford Atta Krufi, the chief executive officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), has confirmed that the much-awaited national cocoa pension scheme is operational in Ghana, contrary to proposals by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) suggesting that the scheme does not exist.
The NPRA boss was speaking with Nana Yaa Mensah on this morning’s Asaase Breakfast Show (Thursday 22 October) about the work of the Authority.
Long before NDC manifesto
‘‘The idea of the cocoa pension scheme started in 2017,’’ Atta Krufi said. “We needed to get a buy-in from the cocoa farmers, so we met them in 2017 [through] the Cocoa, Coconut and Shea nut Farmers Association. We sensitised them about it and they showed their appreciation for it.
‘‘Then we engaged the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), because it is a top-up scheme: when you take a certain percentage or certain portion of the farmer’s [income], COCOBOD will also top up. So we needed to get COCOBOD’s buy-in,’’ he said.
‘‘We took this to the Economic Management Team, who looked at the finances of it and approved it, and the sponsors – Ministry of Finance and COCOBOD.
“So it is not something that could have come from any [NDC] political party manifesto. It started in 2017 and, thankfully, we have registered the scheme and it is working now.’’
On Tuesday the former president John Dramani Mahama questioned when the NPP government intends to implement the cocoa pension scheme, as it promised to do after winning the 2016 election.
Speaking at Samreboi in the Amenfi West constituency of the Western Region, the NDC flagbearer asked cocoa farmers to vote for the NDC in the December general election because he will deliver on his promises to them.
“Where is the cocoa pension scheme [Akufo-Addo] promised? We have less than two months to Election 2020 and he is yet to launch the said programme. When I come into office, I will launch it without delay,’’ he told the crowd of NDC supporters.
Free primary health care offer
However, the NPRA chief executive explained that the idea of the cocoa pension scheme was birthed by the New Patriotic Party in its 2016 manifesto and not copied from the NDC.
‘‘It’s a scheme which has already been registered,’’ the NPRA boss said. “It started in 2017 so, naturally, it cannot be said to be new or [something] any manifesto can create. But, of course, it was in the NPP  manifesto.”
The NDC has promised to provide free primary health care for all cocoa farmers if it forms the government after the December election.
In its 2020 manifesto, launched in Accra on Monday 7 September, the NDC also pledges to exempt all cocoa farmers from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) premium payment for secondary and tertiary care.
The party further says it will create a biometric database of all cocoa farmers and make this available at all cocoa clinics, so that at any point in time, cocoa farmers and their dependants can have access to free health care at these clinics, which are based mostly in Ghana’s cocoa-growing areas.
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For advice on pensions from the National Pensions Regulatory Authority you can call 030 296 8892 (landline) or toll-free (0800 766 000). Alternatively, visit the website: www.npra.gov.gh