Workers within the informal economy like farmers, fishermen, market women, traders and drivers among others can now save towards retirement like their counterparts in the formal sector.
This follows the launch of a new 3-Tier Pension Scheme specially designed to cater for the informal economy workers.
The launch was organized by the Union of Informal Workers Association (UNIWA), of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the People’s Pension Trust.
Speaking at the launch, Ms Deborah Freeman, the General Secretary of UNIWA noted that over the years, informal workers have been denied social security benefits largely due to the complex nature of the informal economy.
She said majority of the informal economy workers are unaware of the existence of the new pension scheme under the Third Tier Pension Scheme and as a result the TUC has designed a programme to sensitize members and potential members of UNIWA on the existence and benefits of this scheme.
The scheme will provide opportunities for the informal economy workers to save towards their retirement.
The scheme is also registered under the Pensions Act 2008, Act 766 as a Third-Tier Pension Scheme which allows for a group or personal voluntary contributions towards retirement.
The act additionally makes provisions for credit accessibility to enhance contributors ‘operations and livelihoods.
Delivering a speech on behalf of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Barfour Awuah, Bright Wereko Brobbey,the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations pointed out that the informal sector is very important because of its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and job creation potential.
“The informal sector accounts for approximately 86 per cent of the labour force and most of the businesses in this sector are micro enterprises. However the rate of unemployment among the youth is alarming and it was for this reason that the government has attached so much importance to the welfare of the informal sector cooperatives.” he noted.
“The growth of this sector is crucial to job creation and economic transformation,” he said, adding, “The quality of jobs need to be improved in order to enable men and women lift themselves out of poverty.
Fritz Kopsieker, the Resident Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), commended TUC-UNIWA for their relentless effort in making the scheme a success and entreated all members to support the executives in their operations.
While beneficiaries of the new pensions scheme will be members of the workforce as intended the introduction of the scheme will also have a positive impact on the economy as a major part of the contribution towards the pension scheme will be used for investments which will contribute to economic development.
The scheme is also envisaged to enhance pension benefits and increase the retirement income security of workers in both formal and informal sectors.
By Pamela Ofori-Boateng