The Public Relations Officer of the University of Ghana Pensions Association, Mr James Madakena has called on the government and the managers of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to stop using pensioners’ funds wrongly.
Ghanaian pensioners have over the years complained about the meagre amount they get from SSNIT after decades of service to the country.
Addressing the 2019 May Day celebration on Wednesday, 1 May 2019 at the Black Star Square, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo tasked the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to liaise with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to bring finality to all outstanding pension issues in the next three months.
Mr Akufo-Addo noted that the critical contribution of labour to the production process, economic growth and sustainable development requires that the dignity of labour is maintained throughout retirement.
“We will build a robust economy and a prosperous society when we put in place a sustainable pension scheme for all workers. For far too many of our people, the end of their lives is marked by poverty. Too many people either have no pensions at all or have inadequate pensions to match the needs of old age,” the President said.
In the informal sectors of the economy, Nana Akufo-Addo lamented that “most people work without any thought to pension coverage, and when they no longer have the strength to work, their lives become miserable.”
With about 90% of workers operating in the informal sector, the President indicated that attention must be focused on extending access to that sector in compliance with the National Pension law.
“At the moment, Government efforts are on course to establish a Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme. This trend would be extended to other worker groups in the informal economy,” he added.
The government, Nana Akufo-Addo said, is working to reduce unemployment in the country, so as to widen the pension base.
Contributing to the President’s comment, Mr Madakena told Benjamin Akakpo on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Thursday, 2 May 2019 that: “There are several factors that have contributed to the lower remuneration of SSNIT pensioners. Recently, we were told of how some people used substantial amounts of money to purchase wrong equipment for SSNIT and that had depleted our funds.
“Years back, there was an audit by Delloitte and Touche, the then-government did not punish those culprits up to date for the misappropriation of the funds they used.
“SSNIT uses pensioners’ monies for their social responsibility by constructing houses for the police. Meanwhile, the police do not contribute to SSNIT, they are on Cap 30. When the military and the police retire, they earn more money than the SSNIT pensioners…
“Years back, it was SSNIT contributions that were used to start the National Health Insurance Scheme and currently, we do not know whether this gargantuan amount has been paid back. So, I’m pleading with SSNIT and the government to stop dipping their hands into the poor pensioners’ contributions.
“The Ghanaian SSNIT pensioners all over the country are suffering. Although SSNIT has invested SSNIT funds into various companies and infrastructure to help pensioners live well, this is not felt at all by SSNIT pensioners…”