Informal sector employees to enjoy pensions until death

Thu, 25 Sep 2008 Source: GNA

Koforidua, Sept. 25, GNA - Under the new pension scheme, which will soon take off, employees in the informal sector or the self employed would enjoy pensions after they retire at the age of 60 until they die. The Informal Sector scheme, which is the third tier of the National Pensions Reforms, involves a monthly contribution from beneficiaries, loan facilities and all other benefits that those in the formal sector enjoy.

Mr Smart Chigabatia, a member of the Pensions Reform Committee, who made this known at an outreach programme for groups within the informal sector in Koforidua on Thursday, said the informal sector participation in the pensions system was to ensure that every Ghanaian, whether government or self employed had a pleasant retiring period. Explaining the recommendations of the committee, Mr Chigabatia said members in the informal sector formed 80 percent of the working population therefore it was necessary that their future was captured in the new reforms to ensure that old age did not become a burden for any Ghanaian.

Mr Daniel Aidoo Mensah, Project consultant of the pension reforms, said in accordance with article 37 of the constitution, that charges the state to ensure a pension for the informal sector, the committee was duly set up to restructure the existing pension scheme to capture that sector.

According to him statistics showed that retirement age was mostly a quarter of the entire lifespan of people and it was unacceptable for those in that sector to be left to suffer in their old ages. Mr Mensah said the scheme had been designed in a flexible way without any fix amount to contribute. He appealed to the leaders of the various artisan groups and organization to educate their members to embrace the scheme to guarantee their future.

Mrs Irene Wontumi, a retired civil servant and member of the committee, told the participants that old age and retirement only barred one from working hard, but all other duties such as eating and social responsibilities were maintained.

She pleaded with the young ones, especially to take the new scheme seriously and contribute towards their future, because the tradition where children and family members took care of the old was gone forever. The Eastern Regional Chairman of the Council for Indigenous Business Associations (CIBA), Mr Stephen Mensah, in his welcoming address disclosed that about 500 members in the area had started an endowment fund with the idea of guaranteeing their future. He therefore indicated their preparedness to join the scheme and assured the committee that the leadership would embark on an education campaign for the groups to understand the provisions of the scheme.

Source: GNA