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Ghana needs universal pension scheme - TUC to government

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah
General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for concrete plans and a roadmap for a universal pension scheme in government's  2020 budget.

According to the TUC, it was unacceptable that out of a workforce of about 13 million Ghanaians, only about 1.5 million are covered under the SSNIT [Social Security and National Insurance Trust] pension scheme as of now. 

Consequently, the TUC wants the president to provide the necessary support to the lack of access to pension and that is why the TUC says it selected the theme, "Sustainable pension for all," for this year's May Day celebration to particularly draw attention to the lack of pension.

Addressing this year’s national May Day parade in Accra Wednesday morning, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, the Secretary-General of the TUC said over 11 million people do not have access to social security.

"This is not acceptable for a rich, proud, middle income country like Ghana. Something has definitely gone wrong in our economic and social policy," Dr Baah said.

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"Mr President, we will like to appeal to you to correct this flaw in our social policy. We are expecting concrete plans and a roadmap for a universal pension coverage in the 2020 budget." 

He said about a quarter of the 200,000 people who are on the SSNIT pension scheme receive about GH¢300 a month, which he described as woefully inadequate.

According to him, the pittance pensioners received monthly has sent many of them to their early graves as they cannot afford to pay for their utilities and hospital bills.

Dr Baah also expressed worry over the inequality in pension benefits, urging government to critically look at the country’s pension scheme.

He explained that low coverage was not the only problem facing the country’s social security system and that payment of inadequate pension benefits was another challenge bedeviling the SSNIT pension scheme.