The Ghana Mineworkers Union has given strong backing to the call by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the establishment of a Social Partnership Council to deal with pension issues.
Mr. Prince William Ankrah, the General Secretary, said it was the way to go to ensure that decisions made reflected the interest of every worker – to assure all of retirement income security.
He was speaking at a ceremony held to reward deserving members of the Union in Accra. They received laptop computers, tablets, fridges, home theatre, and air conditioners.
The goal was to motivate everybody to give it their all to help grow the national economy. It formed part of activities marking the 75th anniversary of the Union.
He said they also found it refreshing the decision by the government to clear its outstanding payments to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).
President Nana Akufo-Addo announced at the May Day celebration at the Black Star Square that the Finance Ministry had arranged for payment of GHS200 million and a bond of GHS700 million towards the retirement of arrears owed to the Trust, this year.
That would leave an unpaid amount of GHS800 million which he said, was going to be cleared, next year.
Mr. Ankrah said the move was a step in the right direction as the huge outstanding payment was affecting SSNIT’s operation – the ability to invest productively to pay better pension.
For pensions to be sustained, employers should accept to make prompt payment of their contributions as required by law. He underlined the need to introduce a Provident Fund, to help augment money received by workers after they retired from active service.
There should also be stronger public private partnerships to keep the local economies, he said, adding that Ghana could learn from best practices of countries like United States, Australia and South Africa.
Mr. Ankrah appealed to the government to establish “buffer enterprises” to provide alternative employment opportunities to sustain the economies of mining communities.
There should additionally be an integrated plan for accelerating socio-economic progress in those areas.