Pensioners urged active workers to keep in mind their old age period
The National Pensioners’ Association on Monday reminded active workers to always be conscious of their retirement period.
“If you are not tagged as gone too soon, then definitely one day you will go on retirement…you must not forget that…so workers who deal especially on the remuneration of pensioners must accord them the highest respect.
“It is dishearten to observe that some pensioners go through difficult moments at some banks, just to withdraw their meager pension pay, some officials are rude, whilst others are maltreated by officials who qualified to be our children and grand children,” Mr Edward Ameyibor, General Secretary of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pensioners Association stated in Accra.
Mr Ameyibor, who led a high powered SSNIT Pensioners Executives to pay a courtesy call on the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur noted the need for the country to look more seriously about issues of the elderly.
He lamented the condition of some pensioners stressing that some take home as low as GH¢52.00 as their monthly pension pay…” this is woefully inadequate pension…
“To be eligible to receive funds under the SSNIT Fund one must be a contributor to the Scheme for more than 20 years, after which 25 per cent of the total sum would be given out in bulk”.
Mr Ameyibor said the association since its inception in 2009, had helped to increase the pensions of members progressively, saying now every SSNNIT pensioner would receive 12 per cent increment on their allowances.
He noted that even though SSNIT had increased pensions-in-payment by a fixed rate of 12 per cent and a flat amount of GH¢21.36 per pensioner for 2013, others were still suffering.
SSNIT in accordance with section 80 of the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) has increased indexed or pensions-in-payment for 2013. The overall indexation rate now stands at 22.6 per cent for 2013.
The minimum monthly pension would be GH¢100.00 for new pensioners with effect from January 2013, while all pensioners receiving monthly pension of less than GH¢100 would be placed on a pension of GH¢100 per month.
“The health of pensioners was very important but, in Ghana very little has been done to cater for the health needs of pensioners.
“The National Health Insurance Scheme, which is supposed to complement the health needs of all Ghanaians, was also not friendly to the aged,” Mr Ameyibor, who is also the Vice Chairman of HelpAge Ghana stated.
He indicated that in view of the need to support pensioners the Association had set up a charity fund, which would be formally launched in May this year to assist pensioners in times of emergency, especially in relation to their health problems, since that had been totally ignored over the years.
He said lack of pension education in the past had made it impossible for most pensioners to access their funds, and it was important to encourage and advise the current generation to take ken interest in their pension.
He urged workers, especially the youth and women to be serious about pensions, saying: “They must ensure that their employers pay their pension contributions to SSNIT, and get evidence for all payments as often as possible”.
He appealed to the Ministry to create a forum for dispassionate discussion on the condition of pensioners – elderly people, their health care, protection, movement, and other social issues.
Nana Oye Lithur noted that the Ministry which has oversight responsibility over the pensioners would institute measures to engage and create room for improvement of the condition of pensioners.
She assured them of government’s interest in the welfare of all especially the elderly, hence the new mandate for the Ministry to provide social protection.
She also expressed concern about stigmatization of older people as witches and all other societal ills.
Nana Oye Lithur pledged the full support of the Ministry to the launch of the charity fund in May.
She congratulated the elderly for the valuable contributions towards nation building.
Other groups which called on the Minister were the International Labour Organisation, Mental Health Association and the Disability Board.