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01.07.2005 Regional News

Payment of 50 per cent increase pension allowance begins


Cape Coast, July 01, GNA - Mr Isaac Edumadze, the Central Regional Minister, on Friday said payment of the 50 per cent increase in the pension allowance had begun throughout the country. He said the government has also initiated measures to simplify the process of payment. All regional capitals are being re-equipped with new machines to issue photo ID cards to pensioners.

Mr Edumadze said this during a luncheon for more than 200 senior citizens as part of activities to mark this year's senior citizens' day. They were treated to music provided by the "fire Angels" and Oguaa Youth Choir. He said it was expected that by September, the problem of ID cards that had sent some pensioners to Accra would come to an end. ''The frontline staff of the Pension Department is being retrained to make them more sensitive to the needs of pensioners.''

Mr Edumadze said the government was committed to the welfare of all senior citizens and it was in this regard that the Presidential Commission on Pensions was set. ''Senior citizens have also been included in the National Health Insurance to ensure a quality and affordable health care for them.'' Touching on the nation's debt cancellation, he said the government would use proceeds from it to pursue a development agenda that would improve socio-economic conditions in the country, particularly in the creation of jobs.

Mr Charles Tachie-Menson, on behalf of the senior citizens, thanked the government for setting aside a day for them and called on Ghanaians to patronage Made in Ghana goods. He called on the government to increase loans given to women and the unemployed youth to enable them start viable businesses.