As Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark International Labour Day on May 1, 2019, some pensioners retiring from the public sector want the managers of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to modify their operations to improve the living conditions of beneficiaries.
The pensioners tell Citi Business News the meager claims they are entitled to could partly be blamed for the unbearable situations some of them have to contend with which in extreme cases results in deaths few years after retirement.
Ghana has had a growing pension industry for over seventy years yet, many pensioners complain of difficulty in living a meaningful life after retiring from active work.
Pensioners are often burdened with the load of paying hospital bills, finding a permanent place of abode as well as ensuring that one has enough to meet daily expenditure on food.
Many a time, the hardship of pensioners is told but resolving the situation seems far from over especially for those who work in the public sector.
A pensioner, Agnes Sackey in an interview with Citi Business News said she has been on pension for the past ten years now and earns six hundred cedis a month.
She laments the hardship she would have been enduring had it not been the intervention by her children.
“As one gets older, the diseases you are exposed to are high so many pensioners like myself end up spending all their pension funds on medicine. Unlike many of my mates who live from hand to mouth, I am fortunate my sons have built me a house and a provision store so it helps with my up keep. Had it not been for that, life would have been extremely difficult for me”.
Another pensioner, Christine Amporfro has been on pension for just two years and is already lamenting the difficulty he has encountered relying on his pension for his daily upkeep.
“As a pensioner, you should enjoy life but that is not the case for many people in Ghana. We spend a good part of our lives working for the country only to suffer in our old age. We are not even sure how the calculation is done we just accept whatever amount is give to us as our pension funds which is really not enough.”
Pension benefits are regular payments made by the state to people of or above the official retirement age.
In some jurisdictions, this is extended to vulnerable persons like some widows and persons with disability.
In Ghana, the first pension scheme that was introduced in 1946.
It subsequently metamorphosed into the CAP 30 scheme in the 1950s and 60s.
Financial analyst advises on pensions
Speaking to Citi Busines News on how people can live meaningful lives even in their retirement ages, the CEO of Databank, Kojo Addae Mensah stressed the importance of preparing for retirement early in life.
“The mistake most Ghanaians make is that they start preparing for pension when they are in their fifties which is a big mistake. One should start preparing as early as possible”.
“The good thing is that these days there are both public and private pension services to help one prepare for retirement.
Ghana will mark International Labour Day on Wednesday 1st May.
This day ensures that workers worked for 8 hours and had rest other than previously when there was no rest”.
In Ghana, the celebration is under the theme “Sustainable Pensions: The Role of Social Partners.