The Catholic Education Unit in the Ashanti Region has initiated a supplementary pension scheme for its teachers in an effort to help cushion them against future contingencies.
Under the scheme christened "Ashanti Catholic Teachers" (ACT) Support Scheme, each member makes a voluntary contribution ranging from a minimum of 20,000 cedis and 500,000 cedis maximum, depending on the contributor's salary and the ability to pay.
Mr Owusu Dodoo, Board Chairman of ACT, who announced the setting up of the scheme, during their first Annual General Meeting in Kumasi yesterday, said the scheme was also to inculcate in members the habit of regular savings, irrespective of their salary levels. It was intended to prepare members for a more comfortable retirement, he added.
Mr Dodoo said the ACT, which was formed only a year ago with a membership of 1,306 currently, had its total monthly savings standing at 97 million cedis. "We are in our own small way creating a parallel social security that would open doors to a better future for us and our dependants", he added.
The Board Chairman said a total of 1,479,250,000 had been given out as loans to its members whiles the total contributions of 11 members who have retired a year after joining the scheme had been refunded to them.
In a brief background of the formation of the ACT, Mr Dodoo said the need was precipitated by a bizarre situation under which cash trapped teachers who were forced to access loans from financial institutions to alleviate their plight were confronted with law suits for non-payment, pushing some of them to attempt suicide when they felt the situation was hopeless.
Mr Johnson Peter Mensah, Chairman of Saint Peter's Co-operative Credit Union, described the Ghanaian worker as a "crisis manager" who did not prepare financially for unforeseen contingencies but waited for crisis to strike before running for refuge at financial institutions which only butcher them with callous lending rates.