Mahama Ayariga to sponsor private member’s bill to push retirement age to 65 years 

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Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Constituency

Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Constituency has said he would be sponsoring a private member’s bill to push retirement age upward. The bill will push for an amendment to the constitution to extend the compulsory retirement ages for public servants and judicial officers from 60 years to 65 years.

He made this known in a Facebook post after the vetting of the Minister Designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, during which he posed the question on extending the retirement age.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah told the vetting committee of parliament that he is for increasing the retirement age from the current 60 years to 65 years as a means to support the growth and sustainability of the nation’s pension schemes.

He is however hesitant to fully push for such a course due to the high numbers of unemployment the nation faces even though many initiatives which have been introduced to drive down the numbers have yielded little effect. According to him, there is a threat to the sustenance of some of the pension schemes that have been introduced by the government to cater for the welfare of retirees considering legal working life span.

“I have raised this on several platforms; when you are looking at the sustainability of pensions, when you have a shorter working period, it doesn’t auger well for your pension schemes. When people stay more and work they can accumulate more funds and they are also able to retire on a handsome pension than when their working period is very short.

But I must also admit that it has its disadvantages too. Some of the disadvantages include the fact that we live in a country where unemployment is considerable high. More people are leaving school and want to be engaged so if you have some tiered hands still hanging around it would be difficult to recruit new once, it becomes a concern,” Mr. Baffour-Awuah told the committee.

But Mr. Ayariga noted that the extended period of service for the public servants and judicial officers will be equally available to the young people when they ultimately get into the public services and when they become judicial officers.

“Many people start family life late and their children are mostly still in school when they are compulsorily retired and family incomes are negatively affected with dire consequences for the education of their children. An extended retirement age will ensure that youth are guaranteed family income to sponsor their education.

With improved health care and increased life expectancy, the current compulsory retirement age of 60 years hurts the public service and judiciary and deniers them of healthy, competent and experienced people. And many of them live an additional 20 years or more and become a burden on the pension scheme which has to support them in retirement when they could actually work,” he noted.

Mr. Baffour-Awuah told the vetting committee that a stakeholder meeting is needed to deliberate on these matters and find an amicable resolution as to how to help support the scheme and not let many more people stay unemployed: “This means that we have to look at the issue from both sides of the coin and be able to make a judgement but I am looking at it from the perspective of the sustainability of our many pension schemes.”

The current retirement age is 60 per 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. At the time the law was enacted in 1992, life expectancy was around 57.49 but improved health and lifestyle over the years have inch it up.

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.

SOURCEBy Osei Owusu AMANKWAAH
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