Political parties not taking old people serious – Pensioners

The Ghana Pensioners Association has taken issues with political parties for failing to include issues targeted at improving their welfare in their manifestoes.

According to them, since politicians do not consider them as key members of society, they (the politicians) always failed to put their issues in the public domain anytime they mounted political platforms.

At their third quadrennial delegates conference held in Kumasi, the pensioners noted that political parties are not taking old people serious.

“Let us hear them talk of pensioners and the use to which they will put our pension contribution on their platforms during this electioneering period,” they challenged.

They pointed out that even though members of the association  formed part of the larger society, so far as the December general election was concerned, no political party had come out with policies and programmes meant to support pensioners who in their youthful days, contributed meaningfully to national development in diverse ways.

“ They forget pensioners are heads of families and clans and can influence or sway the thinking among their people” they noted.

“ Older persons and pensioners are a big political force that should be harnessed and respected” they contended.

Addressing the delegates during the conference, the General Secretary of the association, Mr Edward Ameyibor, expressed concern about the high cost of living in the country, saying increased pensions have become urgent issues to help “us live well.”

For instance,he said, “Many pensioners are spending even more in this period on utility bills such as water and electricity, and fuel”.

On the general election, Mr Ameyibor cautioned politicians to be mindful of their speeches by concentrating on issues that could accelerate socio-economic development instead of indulging in hate speeches intended to create social dichotomy.

“ We call on all political parties to cool down the political temperature and also call the hawks among them to order so that hate speeches, war mongering and violent threats will be absent from their language.

According to Mr Ameyibor, in case the hate speeches becomes the order of the day and any form of violence breaks up, “ We as older people will be among those who will suffer most. We will not have the energy or resources to flee or protect ourselves”.

On their pensions, they urged the Social Security and National Insurance Trust( SSNIT) to devise new ways of calculating their indexation to enable them meet many of their basic needs in life.

“ We demand bigger dividends as the major share holders. Next year’s indexation should be more human centered to lift the 50 per cent of beneficiaries on GH¢100 and below as monthly pension to the national minimum wage level” Mr Ameyibor challenged.

They said it was equally important for employers to pay deductions from their employees’ salaries to SSNIT promptly.

While also urging the government to fully implement the National Ageing Policy as a form of social intervention for the aged to make life worth living, members said it was important for their colleagues who were 72 years or more, to renew their life certificates regularly.

Source: Daily Graphic

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