The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG), Tuesday inaugurated the Public Services Pensioners Association (PSPA) to support staff on retirement within the Public Services Organisations.
The Association would also unite all retirees of CLOGSAG, seek the welfare of members, provide solidarity, promote togetherness, identify problems retirees go through, advocate for the rights of members and lobby the Government to improve the pension system in the country.
Mr Bright Wireko Brobbey, a Deputy Minister, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), bemoaned the ordeal that pensioners had to endure upon retirement, adding that the formation of the Association was long overdue.
However, he said it was refreshing that the Association had been formed under one umbrella to address their pension needs.
The Deputy Minister said the Ministry would work with them to make the pensions scheme more robust and responsive to the needs of all workers.
He said the formation of PSPA would serve as an additional platform to promote dialogue and deepen collaboration for pension reforms.
Dr Evans A. Dzikum, President of CLOGSAG, said over the last five years, CLOGSAG had strategically developed and implemented some welfare schemes to improve the well-being of its members, especially active staff.
He said primarily, issues confronting retired officers were critical and said they would support the Government’s efforts in diverse ways to execute laudable pension projects to aid their members.
“Secondly, we need to partner with other strategic bodies in order to provide adequate medical facilities for our retired officers. We shall continue to work in fulfilling our promises to members and the retired officers,” he said.
DrDzikum advised the newly elected Executive Members of PSPA to be firm, objective, and sincere in the discharge of their duties to enable them to maintain the operational standards established.
He assured them of CLOGSAG’s utmost support and cooperation and congratulated CLOGSAG for the excellent initiative undertaken to prolong the lifespan of staff after retirement.
Mr Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary, CLOGSAG, said the aims and objectives of the Association were laudable and with time, the voice of public sector pensioners would be heard and matters affecting public sector retirees would be part of government agenda.
He said CLOGSAG was preparing a proposal to Government, specifically, the Ministry of Employment, to allow workers to exit the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension’s scheme after 180 months (the minimum as stipulated by law).
Mr Addo said the Government should make it optional for one to opt out of the Tier 1 and allow the person to decide which ever pension fund or product to invest the money into.
“The money being given to us by SNNIT isn’t enough and there are other pension products doing well so after 180 months, we should be given the opportunity to invest in other packages,” he said.
Mr Godwin Brocke, Chief Director, Civil Service, said it was important for public sector workers to plan for life after pension.
“Preparing for retirement comes on the day of your employment. The day you were employed is the day you start planning for your retirement because you pray that that day would come. But how do you prepare for retirement? And that is one of the critical things we have to attend to at this time. It is quite clear that a lot of our staff do not have a very fulfilling life after working in the service,” he said.
MrBrocke said the Office of the Head of the Civil Service would work with all other key stakeholders to improve the basic conditions of civil service and local government staff whilst they are working.
He said they were also making other proposals to CLOGSAG and other stakeholders to take care of other issues such as the health of staff in their retirement. -GNA