The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is once again reiterating its call on the government to convene a Stakeholder Forum to discuss the low lump-sum benefits and related issues without further delay.
TUC made the call at its General Council meeting held on August 6, 2020, which was the first General Council meeting since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana.
The low pension (lump-sum) benefits and human rights abuses were among the important national issues which received special attention from the Council.
Low pension benefits, especially the incredibly low lump-sum/past credit being paid to retirees who retired in 2020, continued dominated discussions at this year’s General Council.
On the basis of analyses available to the TUC, the General Council in its December 2019 deliberations expressed worry about workers who were due to retire from January 2020 – whose lump-sum would be based on past credit from SSNIT and benefits from their second-tier schemes.
Hence, the General Council discussed some unresolved pension-related issues – including the lack of clarity on the computation of past credit to be paid by SSNIT; and the fact that second-tier contributions have not been invested over a long enough period to generate adequate returns, as envisaged by proponents of the three-tier pension system.
“There was a genuine fear that workers who retire in 2020 and beyond might be worse-off in terms of lump-sum benefits compared to lump-sum benefits under PNDCL 247”.
To address these and related issues, TUC proposed a stakeholder forum on pensions in 2019.
However, regrettably, no forum was held and these issues remain unresolved. Many workers have retired on the three-tier pension scheme with harrowing experiences, indicated a statement signed by TUC Secretary-General, Dr. Yaw Baah.
“Pension Payment Statements we have gathered from some of our members who retired in 2020 show that they are worse off because their lump-sum benefits are far lower than what they would have received if they had retired under PNDC Law 247. This is unfair and unjustifiable.”
The pension reforms that gave birth to the current pension system were premised on the idea of enhancing retirement income for workers, the TUC notes.
“Therefore, no retiree should be worse-off compared to the old pension system. Why should workers, who have retired after more than three decades of dedicated service to this country receive such paltry sums as a lump-sum benefit?”
Another important issue that received the General Council’s attention was the gruesome murder of a 90-year old woman, Akua Denteh, at Kafaba in the Northern Region.
The Council was outraged by this heinous murder and the barbarism it portrays of Ghanaians in this day and age. The Council condemned the murder of Madam Akua Denteh and called on the government to ensure that the security agencies bring all those who participated in such a disgraceful act to be punished in accordance with laws of the land.
The Council further urged the government to institute special measures to protect elderly women in Ghana, particularly in parts of the country where they face perennial threats for ‘witchcraft’.
“Government must implement a special programme that provides basic income, housing and other amenities for the aged – including those suffering in the so-called ‘witch camps’ in some parts of the country.”