Participants at the end of the Fifth Dialogue Series workshop of the College of Humanities, University of Ghana (UG), have urged the government to review the pension age for workers upward.
They were of the view that the compulsory retirement age for civil and public service office holders should be at 65 years and not 60 years as enshrined in Act 199 section One, of the 1992 Constitution.
They also advocated that the retirement age for the nation’s academics should be 70, just as it was for the Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
According to the panelists, the retirement age reform would serve as a means of retaining a crop of experienced academics in the nation’s universities, which were facing acute staff shortages.
The workshop on the theme: ‘Retirement at 60: A blessing or a curse’, was hosted by the Centre for Aging Studies, UG.
Mrs Rose Gomez of Queens International School said when people retire, there were critical losses in four areas in particular – relationships, reputation, re-work and regeneration.
“And the price tags associated with such losses were estimated to be as much as 20 times the more visible, tangible costs of recruitment and training,” she stated.
She said in-depth succession planning, knowledge-sharing programmes, even just questioning the experts before they leave the organisation were imperative steps to ensure that the organisation’s deep smarts stay within the walls of the organisation.
Mrs Gomez said naturally, retirement was associated with a decline in health; stating that: “It may also be agreed that retirement is associated with improvements in health.”
“Some others may think that it has little effect on health. Yes, skilled and passionate human resources (teachers) are lost to retirement,” she added.
Mr Kwasi Okoh, Managing Director, Aluworks Limited, said: “Why retire at 60, when the life expectancy in Ghana is around 70? What could one who has not prepared be doing during that period waiting for death? But it is best to face the reality early and try to re-generate so that it can become a blessing rather than a curse.”
Professor Augustin Fosu, Professor, ISSER, UG, said retirement should not be equated to cessation of work, since a lot of retirees were still very active.
Prof C. Mate-Kole, Director, Centre for Ageing Studies, UG, said it was high time government took the issue of upward review of the national pension age very seriously.
He cited that in advance nations like France and the United Kingdom, people retire at 70 and 65 years.
He said some people due to change in habits after retirement turned to die early.
Prof Samuel Agyei-Mensah, the Provost, College of Humanities, UG, said the motivation to introduce the Dialogue Series was inspired by a discussion at a recent College Advisory Board meeting to expand the range of critical debate devoted to national and international issues by the academic and nonacademic fraternity and to stimulate interactions among academics, the public, private and non-profit sectors.
The Chairman of the event, Prof Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, Centre for Social Policy Studies, UG, urged young people to think of their future and put adequate plans in place for their retirement.