11.10.2004 General News

Presidential Commission on Pensions sits at Wa

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Wa, Oct. 11, GNA - The Presidential Commission on Pensions held its first public sitting outside Accra since its inauguration by President John Agyekum Kufuor on August 4, this year, at Wa on Monday. The overall objective of the nine-member Commission under the chairmanship of Mr Thomas Ango Bediako is to come up with recommendations for a pension scheme or schemes that would ensure retirement income security for Ghanaian workers with special reference to the Public Sector.

In a brief opening statement, Mr Bediako underscored the importance of the outcome of the Commission's work to the aspirations of Ghanaian workers, especially those in the Public Sector.

The Chairman, therefore, urged workers in the Regions to contribute by sharing their experiences with the Commission in processing their Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) or CAP 30 retirement benefit.

Mr Bediako noted that the experiences of those in Accra might not be the same as those in the regions, hence the decision to move outside Accra.

He gave the assurance that the Commission had not got any preconceived opinion, saying that whatever recommendations it would make at the end of its work, would be based on consensus by its members, from inputs gathered from the public.

Mr Bediako further said the recommendations of the Commission would not be left to gather dust on the shelves, adding that it would present its interim report to President Kufuor at the end of November. He expressed the hope that with the support of Ghanaian workers, it would be able to recommend a sustainable, affordable and well-structured scheme or schemes that would meet their aspirations.

A number of individuals including some pensioners made oral and written contributions to the Commission.

Some of the contributors called for improved salaries for workers, since what a retiring worker got as monthly pensions depended on his or her salary.

Some contributors were not happy about the inability of the Social Security and national Insurance (SSNIT) to furnish contributors with up to date statement of their contributions.

One contributor called on the Managements to give necessary assistance to their retiring workers in processing their retirement benefits, instead of leaving them to their fate after signing their retirement letters.

Other contributors called on the SSNIT Management to strive to reduce the 20 per cent of workers contribution it spent on administering the fund, while others urged SSNIT to pay contributors promptly.

The establishment of the Commission followed sustained agitation by Civil Servants, Teachers and other Public Servants calling on the Government to either review the SSNIT pension scheme, or place them under the non-contributory CAP 30 Pension Scheme perceived by most workers to be better than the SSNIT Pension Scheme.

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