Viable economy, prerequisite for implementing social security reforms– Bediako
Mr Thomas Bediako, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Pensions, on Thursday said a sustainable and conducive economic environment was a prerequisite for the successful implementation of social security reforms in the country.
According to him, it was prudent for all countries to pay more attention to globalization and its effects on pensions, and work towards creating risk pools to mitigate the impact, because a destabilized economy affected social security.
Mr Bediako who is currently the chairman of the Pensions Reforms Implementation Committee, was speaking at the third quadrennial delegates' conference of the Social Security and the National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) senior staff association at Cape Coast.
The two-day conference that was on the theme “Restructuring the Social Security Scheme- the Role of the Senior Staff,” was being attended by delegates from all the regional offices of the Trust.
Mr Bediako said the continued achievement of macro and micro economic stability, creation of employment opportunities, low inflation as well as productivity growth and improved disposable income of workers were relative in securing good security as well as pension income for workers.
He said the Commission was set up in 2004 by government to come out with recommendations for pension schemes that would ensure retirement income security for Ghanaian workers.
Mr Bediako said the success of the implementations of the recommendations was dependable on efforts of all stakeholders.
He said the most challenging issue was for SSNIT to embrace workers in the informal sector which forms about 85 percent of the country's workforce to make the scheme more viable and dependable.
Mr Bediako urged the senior staff to ensure that there were excellent client services and pensioners were treated with respect.
Nana Ato Arthur, Central Regional Minister, who opened the conference, commended SSNIT for establishing an informal sector scheme, with a total membership of about 15,000 and a contribution base of over one million Ghana Cedis.
He urged all stakeholders to ensure that the reforms were successful to provide social protection to all citizens.
Social Economy Reforms 2 Cape Coast
Nana Arthur said government was aware of developments concerning the pension scheme and would continue to maintain it as a basic compulsory pension package for all workers.
He said the vulnerable and the less advantaged as well as the privileged have a stake in the SSNIT scheme.
Nana Arthur said efforts were being taken to ensure that pensioners in the lower earning brackets took home meaningful and life sustaining packages to ensure equity and fairness to contributors.
He said “ Government accepts responsibility for ensuring that its citizens have adequate and comprehensive social protection. The establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has, therefore, brought an additional benefit to contributors to the SSNIT basic scheme.”
Mr Kwasi Osei, Director-General of SSNIT, said recommendations made by the Commission were very challenging and would require the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to ensure there implementation.
He said “our approach to business has to change. We need to be efficient and cost effective.”
Mr Osei said workers of the Trust would be required to change their attitude towards clients for the better and urged them to exposure “ few bad nuts” among them to protect the image of SSINT.
Mr Abeiku Arthur, Acting President of the association, said SSNIT had made a positive impact both nationally and internationally and stressed that the untapped informal sector was receiving attention.
He the Trust had made contributions to key sectors of the economy, including housing, education and capital market development.