Time to review pension age upward – Prof. Baah Boateng … as life expectancy continue to rise

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Economist, Prof. William Baah Boateng

Economist, Professor William Baah Boateng is making a strong case for the country to take a relook at its 60 years’ retirement age as life expectancy in Ghana and some parts of the world continue to increase.

The University of Ghana’s Economics Department head believes that there are more persons who are retiring at the age of 60 years but can offer the labour force more to accelerate economic growth, urging stakeholders to factor the increase in life expectancy into future development policies that would be drafted as the country takes stock of how the Coronavirus has affected the labour force and how the future of work would look like.

“Talking about the future of work, we should also know that life expectancy has increased. These days, you have people who are 70 years and they are as strong as 30 years. You can have people who are 70 years and they are as strong as 50. It means that when we have pensions at 60 we are throwing our human capital to go waste because I always say you cannot buy experience.

So moving into the future, we can get to a point where we can get somebody who is 90 and is still as active as somebody who is 60. Therefore, what would be the nature of the labour market in the future; are we going to restrict the productive segment of the population to 15 – 60 or 15-90,” Prof. William Baah Boateng, said at the 12th National Development Planning Commission Forum on the theme: The Future of Work in Post COVID-19 Ghana.

The current retirement age is 60 in accordance with the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766), as amended by the National Pensions (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act 883). This means that at age 60, public and private sector workers are expected to stop active work unless there are special dispensations created for persons with some unique skills.

According to macrotrends.net, for the past decade, Ghana’s life expectancy has been on the ascendency. From 60.81 years at a growth rate of 0.56 percent in 2010, it has risen to 64.17 years at a growth rate of 0.4 percent in 2020. The current life expectancy of 64.17 years, a 0.4 percent increase from 2019.

The government, three months ago, announced new rules to guide post-retirement contracts for academic staff of public universities in the country. Under the rules, even though the mandatory retirement age for academic staff of public universities shall continue to be 60 years, professorial grade staff (Associate Professors and Professors) shall be eligible for post-retirement contracts until the age of 70, in line with constitutional provisions.

Professor Augustin Fosu, Professor at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, UG, has also said in the past that retirement should not be equated to cessation of work, since a lot of retirees were still very active. Some other strong arguments have been advanced towards the government to take calls for a review of the national pension age very seriously.

References have been made, citing advanced nations like France and the United Kingdom, where people retire at 70 and 65 years. It is believed that some people due to change in habits after retirement turned to die early

Economist, Prof. William Baah Boateng

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