Former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Most Rev. Dr. Aboagye Mensah has admonished Ministers of the gospel to
help create awareness and sensitise members of their congregation about the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pension Scheme.
He made the call in his closing remarks as chair at a stakeholder engagement with leaders of churches and Christian organisations to discuss ways of extending social security coverage to self-employed and workers in the informal sector.
The engagement was organised on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra.
The respected man of God described the engagement as fruitful
“I believe we all have enriched our knowledge and some of the misconceptions you probably had about the SSNIT Scheme have been addressed.
From the discussions, it is obvious the SSNIT Scheme as mentioned by Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang, is good. I will say SSNIT has not in time past marketed the Scheme as they should. But it is better to start late than not to start all.”
He urged his fellow ministers of the gospel to accept the invitation by SSNIT and spread the word about the need for a pension.
“An invitation has been thrown to us, as Ministers of the Gospel to be ambassadors of pensions to help reduce poverty among the aged in our various congregations and the society at large.”
He added: “Since this pension program is for every worker in the country and it is backed by law, let us heed the call. We can do so by explaining what we have heard today to our colleagues and members. Where need be, I believe if we invite SSNIT to our meetings, they will honour the invitation.
We must strongly advise members of our congregations to sign up to the SSNIT Pension Scheme in their own interest. I know, even among the clergy, there are some who are not contributing to any pension scheme. Let us ensure, fellow preachers, that we put in place the necessary structures so that we can retire in dignity.”
He argued that “whilst some ministers can comfortably retire at certain stages of their lives, most of our members, because they are self-employed cannot retire comfortably. If they retire, their source of livelihood would be cut off. This challenge exists because they find themselves in the informal sector space where they do not have any structured pension plan. If they retire, they may have to rely on either family and friends or the church for survival. And there is very little the church can do considering the growing numbers of the aged.”
“It is also very difficult for these individuals, on their own, to save so enough towards their retirement. The challenge is that they don’t know how long they will live after 60 years and considering the problems that keep coming up with some investment schemes promising high returns, it puts a lot of stress on individuals to have a guaranteed source of livelihood when they are no longer able to work. Even those who are able to save, have their savings and investments run out in the cause of time.
These issues called for the state to be interested in the welfare of the aged and life after retirement hence the establishment of a national pension scheme operated by SSNIT. As you may be aware, most people believe the SSNIT Scheme is for formal sector workers. This is so, partially because of the posturing of SSNIT and its workers. In the past, they have not reached out enough but I am happy we have this engagement today,” he indicated.
He said “Among the many things, presented this morning, let me also add my voice to the Director-General’s call and plead that in the interest of the flock we shepherd, let us:
- Help create awareness and sensitise members of our congregation about the SSNIT Pension Scheme
- Assist as peer educators in promoting the SSNIT scheme and the value it offers to members of our congregation and other self-employed persons
- Serve as social security champions in ensuring that self-employed persons enjoy social protection and a decent retirement
- Act as ambassadors to help prevent poverty among our members especially the aged
- Work together to ensure that all workers have access to reliable pension to reduce poverty among the aged
- Encourage our members/congregants to do so
By: Rashid Obodai Provencal Rainbowradioonline.com/Ghana