Many civil servants and public sector workers generally dread going on pension because of the financial risks involved and being often socially underprivileged at a time when you are also getting physically disadvantaged.
As clear as the records show in our part of the world, this is the period in a person’s life when – unless he has invested sufficiently – he is likely to hasten to his death.
Little wonder that even those high up on the ladder as deputy directors and directors get tempted to amend their records to keep them at work while they struggle to sort themselves over accommodation, how to get extra income to support one’s meagre pension, and how to create a budget for seeing the pharmacists and the doctors.
Additionally, if you are a man with no woman by your side, who would ensure that you eat ‘good,’ the situation gets worse as you join the queue of bachelors chasing waakye and koko and koose ‘Amerriyyas’ for your breakfast, lunch and dinner at the peril of your health.
When government therefore increases the amount paid as pensions, in line with current trends of inflations, we believe it should be a welcoming news.
It is in that regard that the announcement by SSNIT to bring some modest smile back into the faces of our seniors on pension ought to be hailed.
As we would admit, in terms of social protection, this government has not only proved that it cares about disadvantaged groups, but that it also bends over backwards – sometimes – to a fault in listening to cries from the ground.
While a ten per cent increase may be modest, it is still an addition that cuts the bill on toiletries or utilities, allowing our seniors some breather into the subsequent months.
There are however realities that we all have to face as we grow up; and that is that, like it or not, we shall all grow old and weaker by the day.
That, indeed, enjoins us to plan for the future, if we do not want to rush ourselves into early discomfort, sickness or death.
Institutions and organisations preparing their seniors towards their exit is important, particularly when the records show that some of them, on exiting, have accommodation problems or malignant diseases, arising mostly out of negligence.
We must plan our kids’ education, permanent accommodation, adjustment into adult life and how we can enjoy, instead of endure, retirement.
For those who think it is all lost, even investing in a pregnant goat or sheep, or in an acre of cocoa farm at the village, may not be too difficult, as long as they work diligently at such modest retirement investments.
While we commend the government for the increase in pensions, we would also call on institutional heads to make it an internal policy to encourage their seniors – and even the juniors – to begin planning life away from the office on rainy days into the sultry heat of retirement. This is something we must begin to take serious as a nation.