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13.10.2004 Regional News

"Combine the best parts of SSNIT and CAP 30" - UER workers suggest

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Bolgatanga, Oct. 13, GNA - Public and Civil servants in the Upper East Region on Wednesday suggested a pension scheme that would seek the welfare of retired workers and enable them to cater well for themselves and afford housing either during working years or at retirement. They said while the CAP-30 pension scheme, which was the best for all was no more possible as explained by the Government, that of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) was unacceptable and a source of depression for retired workers, since it offered too little for their sustenance.

The workers who were speaking at a public forum with the Presidential Commission on Pensions in Bolgatanga, said the proposed scheme could combine the best parts of the CAP-30 and the SSNIT pension schemes, taking the welfare of the retired workers into consideration. They noted that most workers retire without accommodation, which is usually a source of worry to them and their families, and suggested that the new scheme to be put in place could give workers the chance to access housing loans, while they are still in employment.

Giving personal experiences, two retired workers, a former driver, Mallam Baba Amadu, who worked for the Upper East Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) from 1962 to 1995, said he was given 89,000 cedis cash on retirement and a cheque of 44 cedis and 12 pesewas, which was still with him. The other one, Mr. Anaba Atakora, started work as a labourer with the Ghana Education Service in 1976 and retired in 1995 without pension.

There were other testimonies of retired workers who were yet to get their pension benefits many years after retirement. "For the retired persons who are old, the go and come syndrome in Accra is too much," they said, and called for the decentralisation of the pension scheme that would be adopted.

Mr. Thomas Ango Bediako, Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Pensions, said the aim of the Commission was to come up with recommendations for a pension scheme that would ensure retirement income security for workers in the public sector.

He said meetings with workers all over the country would therefore, examine the SSNIT pension scheme, the CAP-30 and any other retirement schemes both in the private and public sectors.

The Chairman also said the Commission would dialogue and interact with persons well versed and connected with pension issues as well as various stakeholders.

He said the ultimate goal is to be able to come with a sustainable, affordable and well-structured scheme, which would meet the aspiration of workers and ensure retirement income security for all workers.

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