A former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Most Reverend Aboagye Mensah, has stated that the Church and religious groups have a key role to play in ensuring the holistic development of their church members including their retirement and pensions.
Chairing the ongoing stakeholder engagement by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) with leaders of churches and Christian organizations to discuss ways of extending social security coverage to self-employed and workers in the informal sector, the man of God stressed that retirement was crucial.
He stated that whilst some ministers of the gospel can retire at a certain age or stages of their lives, several members of the church cannot retire comfortably because they are self-employed.
He said if they should retire, then their source of income and livelihood would be cut off.
“This challenge exists because they find themselves in the informal sector where they do not have an unstructured pension scheme”, he asserted.
He added that should these members retire, they are forced to rely on family members, friends, and sometimes the church.
“But there is little the church can do considering the growing number of their membership,” he noted.
He said it is also very difficult for these individuals to save enough for their retirement.
Most Rev. Aboagye Mensah indicated that this put a lot of stress on the church to have a guaranteed source of livelihood and even those who can save are not able to live on their savings for long.
The situation he suggested calls for the state to be interested in the welfare of the aged.
He said the national pension scheme was introduced to address some of these challenges but several individuals believe that the pension exists only for those in the formal sector.
“This is so particularly because of the posturing of SSNIT”, but quickly added that he was happy SSNIT was organizing the engagement to sensitize the churches and their leadership to understand the need for their members to see the importance of the pension scheme.
He was optimistic that the engagement will give them memorable lessons for their members to secure their future.
He commended SSNIT for organizing the engagement for the first time in the history of SSNIT and the church.
The stakeholder engagement is being organized by SSNIT at the Labadi Beach Hotel.
The meeting was to among other things educate the informal sector workers otherwise known as self-employed to know and appreciate the value the scheme has to offer and what they stand to gain should they joined the scheme which can help change the perception some public workers hold about SSNIT.
By: Rashid Obodai Provencal/Rainbowradioonline.com/Ghana