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Business News of Thursday, 15 November 2018


Government to provide informal sector with pension scheme - Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta play videoFinance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, has announced that government is working with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to develop a policy framework to provide informal sector workers with voluntary fully funded personal pension’s scheme.

The scheme, which would be launched in 2019, would demonstrate the President’s commitment to expanding social security to cover the informal sector by charging the Board of SSNIT to ensure the inclusion of informal sector workers.

Mr Ofori-Atta who made this known when he delivered the 2019 Budget Statement in Accra, said retirement income security was a right of every Ghanaian and not only formal sector workers hence, the framework.

He said the Government over the last 22 months had not just been restoring macroeconomic stability, but had implemented number of flagship policies as well as social intervention strategies that have reduced the suffering and enhanced the aspirations and opportunities of ordinary Ghanaians. Mr Ofori-Atta said Government had eased the burden of hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians and invested in the future of children with the introduction of the Free Senior High School programme.

He said for the first time in history, the whole of Ghana was enjoying Free SHS with free meals (Both boarding and day), free boarding accommodation and free textbooks for students.

The Minister said the Free SHS in 2017 provided over 90,000 additional teenagers an opportunity to get senior high school education and improve their opportunities for work in the future.

“In 2018, as a result of the innovative double track system, we have been able to accommodate 181,000 more students who otherwise could not have access to secondary education,” he stated.

He said the introduction of free SHS had also provided immediate cash benefits to the parents adding that “for a parent with a boarding SHS student, you save GH¢2,015.22 and a parent with a boarding TVET student you save GH¢2,115.22.”

“Over a three-year period a parent with a boarding SHS student would have saved nearly GH¢6,045. The savings is about Gh¢120million old Cedis if you have two children going through the free SHS.

“We increased the school feeding programme from 1.6 million children to 2.1 million children, and also increased the amount spent on each child by 25 percent,” he added.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the President was eager to improve upon the economy and had therefore added more than 150,000 households to the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme thereby improving their livelihoods.

The Finance Minister said government had as well increased the share of the Disability Common Fund (DACF) to persons with disabilities from two per cent to three per cent, it also doubled the Capitation Grant (From GH¢0.5 to GH¢410.00), and restored Teacher and Nurses Training Allowances.

He said Electricity tariff have been reduced to 17.5 per cent for households and 30 per cent for businesses, the GH¢1.2 billion arrears inherited under the NHIS have been cleared and NHIS was working again.

“The days of ailing health insurance are now behind us. We have re-energised the scheme, which is now able to settle its bills, thereby ensuring that many more Ghanaians have access to quality healthcare across the country.”

Mr Ofori-Atta said: “We have paid all arrears since 2014, that we came to meet.” On food crop farmers, he said they had been provided with subsidised (50 per cent subsidy) fertiliser under the planting for food and jobs programme. That, the Minister said, had resulted in increased output and lower food prices.

“We have provided jobs to 100,000 graduates under the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) across every constituency in Ghana,” he stated.