Mr Patrick Tetteh Binyemi, the Chairman of the Greater Accra Regional Council of Labour, of the Ghana Trade Union Congress (TUC), has underscored the importance of extending the compulsory retirement age from 60 to 65 years.
Mr Binyemi explained that there was an urgent need to consider reviewing the pension age to enable workers to contribute more and enjoy enhanced pensions upon retirement.
“We must also negotiate with our employers to ensure that a chunk of our earnings goes into payment of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contribution to enable our members to earn a meaningful pension,” he added.
Mr Binyemi stated at a day’s engagement organized by SSNIT with leadership and members of the TUC in the Greater Accra Region on pension-related issues.
The engagement, which was held in Tema, was attended by members of the TUC from the district councils in Tema, Ada, Amasaman, Shai-Osudoku, and Accra Metro.
Mr. Joshua Ansah, the TUC Deputy Secretary-General, said the suggestion on the need to consolidate basic salaries with allowances was welcomed and gave the assurance that the TUC would look at it.
Mr Ansah urged workers to prioritize their pension the moment they were employed, emphasizing that workers must learn from what happened to some of their predecessors.
Mr Joseph Poku, SSNIT Chief Actuary, in a presentation on “Understanding the value proposition of the SSNIT Scheme,” said currently, the scheme has 1.7 million active contributors out of the five million registered.
He said out of the active number of contributors, those in the private sector accounted for 1,130,069 representing 63 percent, while the public sector has 649,072 representing 36 percent while only one percent (17,006) of the contributors were self-employed.
On the invalidity pension, he explained that it was the benefit paid to contributors who might have contributed continuously for a minimum of a year before being declared by a medical doctor and approved by a committee that they could no longer work due to invalidity.
He said with that, the beneficiary would be entitled to a monthly benefit just like he or she was on pension till their death.
He disclosed that currently SSNIT has 1,536 people on the invalidity pension and has so far paid about GH¢18.4 million in benefits to them.
Mr. Poku further disclosed that the youngest person on the invalidity pension was 31 years old and started benefitting from age 29 while the oldest was 83 years and was put on it at the age of 53.
He urged union leaders to consider asking for the consolidation of basic salaries with allowances to ensure that workers’ contributions were appreciated for a good pension package when they retire from active service.