By Tabora Bojang
The Gambia government is proposing to amend the 1950 Pensions Act to reorganise the administration of public service pensions scheme.
The bill, which is currently under review and consultation stages before the National Assembly joint committees on finance and public accounts and public enterprises committees, seeks to establish the public service pension fund at the Central Bank of The Gambia where all contributions towards the pension will be lodged.
The permanent secretary, Personnel Management Office Lamin Jawara said the bill seeks to support general practice in public service pensions to ensure effective pensionable earnings for civil servants.
He said if passed, both government and civil servants will be required to contribute separately towards funding the scheme.
“The current pension scheme is non-contributory and the government is the sole contributor that pays pensions when civil servants retire but we are proposing a new amendment. Under this new scheme civil servants will be called upon to contribute at least 5% towards their pensions,” he said.
But while civil servants are required to specifically contribute 5 percent, the proponents of the bill argued government contribution cannot be specific as this is a defined benefits scheme which may require the government to contribute way more than the stated amount.
Entitlements for civil servants
who resign or are dismissed
Mr Jawara disclosed that unlike the current Pensions Act which came into force in 1950, the new scheme will also propose entitlements to civil servants who resign or have been dismissed.
“Under the present pension scheme which is noncontributory, if you resign or you are dismissed you lose all your benefits. In the new pension scheme, which requires civil servants to be contributing, they will not lose their contributions by virtue of resignation or dismissal from the civil service,” PS Jawara explained.
He added that such individuals will only have access to their contributory amounts but not the other benefits as if they retire.
The new scheme also entitled benefits to children of deceased civil servants who will continue to benefit from the pensions for a period of time.
The amendment further stipulated that a person holding public office other than a judge, shall retire from such office on attaining the age of 60.
PS Jawara explained that in a situation where the exact date of birth of a civil servant is not known, the director of pensions could stipulate 31 December of a year to confirm he or she has turned 60.