The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) on Thursday bemoaned the deplorable conditions of retired public officers and pledged to unceasingly pursue activities to improve the lot of pensioners and those about to retire.
“It is evident that the hope for realization of a better pension has become a mirage. At each point in time when workers desire to see clear improvements in levels of pension income, their aspirations are dashed and had to wait for another long time in the future.
“We see no end to the promise and fail approach for better basis for payment of pension,”Mr Isaac Bampoe Addo, CLOGSAG Executive Secretary, said in a statement to mark 2015 May Day celebration and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
CLOGSAG has therefore tagged this year’s May Day: “The three tier Pension Scheme is Kpa, Kpa, Kpaa”.
The statement said in view of the development, workers ought to constantly acknowledge that current conditions of service had been attained through continuous struggle in the past and present by various workers Unions and Associations.
The CLOGSAG, whilst touting the contribution of workers towards national development, expressed concern that the numerous concerns raised by workers in the implementation of the “Three Tier Pension Scheme,” purported to improve and enhance pensions in the Ghanaian as well as bring an end to multiple pensions in the public services have not materialized.”
CLOGSAG said it would be self-deceit for workers to assume that “our future aspirations would be achieved on a silver platter.
“It is this fact that has led CLOGSAG to be concerned with improvement in pensions for workers especially those within the Civil and Local Government Services”.
The statement recalled that demonstrations and strikes of workers compelled Government in 2004 to set up a Presidential Commission on Pensions to examine the issue of inadequate pension earnings – gratuity or lump sum and monthly pension – with the aim of improving pension income for workers.
It said in 2008, with the promulgation of the National Pensions Act 2008, (Act 766) the Three-Tier Pension Scheme was expected to give better pension to workers.
The statement said the NPA Act became operational on January 2010, and the improvement in pension was to be seen after five years that is from January 2015; retirees were expected to enjoy monthly pension income better that what SSNIT would have been paying under the Social Security Law 1991 (PNDCL 247).
“But what happened in reality, many pensioners were rather being paid lump sum gratuities which were less than a quarter of what they would have earned under the PNDCL247.
“Having waited for five years, the manipulation and implementation deficiencies of Act 766 made the extension of the exemption a necessity,” CLOGSAG stated.
CLOGSAG said the Pension Amendment Act 2014 (Act 883) was therefore passed in December 2014 …..”it was a clear indication that a section of workers have been reverted to the old basis for payment of pensions under the SSNIT scheme.
“By revising the exemption level from 55 years to 50 years as at January 1, 2010, it meant that the professed benefits under Act 766 may be realized in 2020, ten years after the implementation of Act 766”.
CLOGSAG said “in its attempt to draw government’s attention to the inequalities in the implementation of the 2nd Tier of the three-tier pension scheme, the government preferred to send the matter to the law court.
The statement said: “In the midst of all this the dream of a better pension income is still in a limbo. Past credit involving workers contributions to SSNIT with its investment earnings up to December 31, 2009 continue to be a tussle between National Pensions Regulatory Authority and SSNIT.
“In all this the poor retiree bears the brunt of these delays as manifest in the paltry sums paid to retirees. It is evident that the hope for the realization of a better pension has become a mirage”.
According to CLOGSAG, at each point in time when workers desired to see clear improvements in levels of pension income, their aspirations were dashed and had to wait for another long time in the future.
It said to achieve the universal application of the three tier pension scheme has virtually become impossibility, some workers-groups have been given the opportunity to opt out while others have been reverted to schemes that are akin to the CAP 30.
CLOGSAG warned that there could not be any meaningful economic development while old age poverty persisted. GNA