ACCRA, Ghana – Saving towards pension during the active working life has become a major concern for individuals who are anxious about their future. Indeed there comes a time in life where strength diminishes. The question is, how much do old age pensioners take home as their monthly pension pay in some part of the world today?
Pensioners have urged active workers to keep in mind their old age. As one example shows, the National Pensioners Association continue to remind active workers in Ghana to always be conscious of their retirement period, “if you are not tagged as gone too soon then definitely one day you will go on retirement, you must not forget that,” the so-called workers who deal especially on the salary of pensioners must accord them the highest respect.
It is disheartening to observe that some pensioners go through difficult moments at some banks just to withdraw their miserable pension pay each month. Some officials are impolite while others are maltreated by officials qualified to be their children or grandchildren.
As it is, some pensioners take home as low as $27 each month after going through the stress of walking from their homes on a hot sunny Ghanaian weather to the bank. Their monthly expenses, which includes medical bills, food and family necessities, are way above their monthly pension pay. How do these pensioners survive?
The health of a pensioner is very important, though, in Ghana, very little has been done to cater for their health needs. Furthermore, the National Health Insurance Scheme, which is supposed to complement the health needs of all Ghanaians, is also not friendly to the aged.
However, in 2004, the government of Ghana initiated a major reform of the pension system; the process started with the establishment of a Presidential Commission on Pension, which reported its findings to the Government in March 2006.
Today there has been an implementation of the new pension law which caters for the establishment of a mandatory first tier which is a basic pension scheme and mandatory, a second tier which is an occupational pension scheme and a third, voluntary personal pension scheme.
A total of 18.5% is deducted from every Ghanaian worker’s salary and saved for their pension under the first and second tiers. Workers who decide to bring in a further 16.5% of their salary after the mandatory deduction under the first and second tiers enjoy tax benefit. This system was put in place to encourage workers to save more toward their pension, meaning contributors will enjoy a total of 35% tax-free salary before income tax is applied. The Social Security and National Insurance Trust has been appointed to manage the first tier pension contribution from workers salary whiles the second and third tiers are privately managed by licensed trustees appointed by the National Pension Regulatory Authority.
It is important for policy makers to consider the aged in societies during policy formulation and implementation as well as enforcing laws established to protect the aged. It is the people’s responsibility as individuals and institutions to ensure financial support is given to any development activity in Africa and the world at large while monitoring them to ensure the developments benefit the right people, specifically the poor and vulnerable in our society. Lets get involved in fighting global poverty today and save a life tomorrow. Encourage your friends, families and society at large to save for the future.
– William Annang
Sources: Ghana News Agency, National Pensions Regulatory Authority