A 67-year-old retiree from the Ghana Education Service (GES) in the Nanumba North Municipality of the Northern Region, is struggling to live a decent life after 32 years of teaching, because he’s unable to access his pension benefits from the Social Security and National Insurance Scheme (SSNIT).
Manga Napari Joshua, a native of Nabayili, told Citi News he has pursued his benefits for the last seven years since he retired but to no avail.
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According to him, he completed training at college in 1981 and had been in the teaching field all his life until 2016, when he retired.
Mr Napari was a teacher for 32 years, and he headed over seven schools as a headteacher, but life has been challenging for him since his retirement.
He told Citi News that since his retirement in 2016, he has not received any of his pension benefits at all from SSNIT despite visiting the regional office of SSNIT countless times.
He explained that when he went to SSNIT to retrieve his benefits in 2016, he was told that GES had retired him prematurely because he had two years more to retire.
Nonetheless, after staying home for two years with all the frustration and going back to SSNIT in 2018, nothing has changed as far as access to his pension benefits is concerned.
‘’On 28th November 2016, I went on retirement after receiving a letter from GES. I took the letter to the SSNIT office and then according to SSNIT, it was rather GES that retired me and that I still had two years with SSNIT. So within two years, I came home and stayed in the house for the period without anything. So in November 2018, I went back again to SSNIT, and when I got there, it was a different story. I got more frustrated’’.
He stated that SSNIT told him that he was not qualified for the regular lump sum because he went on a reduced retirement.
“I was told I was going to get a reduced pension after staying home for two years. For the lump sum, I am not qualified and they’re going to put me on the monthly pension salary.”
Mr Napari told Citi News that whenever he sees his colleagues, he feels life is better for them while he struggles.
‘’Anytime I see my colleagues, they look better and I am here, I can no longer go to the farm or do anything again for myself’’.
Mr Napari is married with six children and now has nothing to live on.
He says it would be difficult to encourage any of his children to choose the teaching profession in Ghana, lamenting how the Ghana Education Service has failed to assist him in these trying times.
‘’I am married with six children and now look at me. I was a very dedicated teacher but in the end nothing. The most painful part is the institution I worked all my life for, GES, and the Ghana National Association of Teachers. They have taken their hands off me after giving me my retirement letter. Instead of them ensuring that I get my benefits, they’ve done nothing. I will not advise any of my children to become a teacher’’ he said.
Mr Napari is however appealing for assistance to enable him to secure his benefits from SSNIT.
‘’I am appealing for support, any individual or organization that can come to my aid to assist me to get what is due me I will be grateful for that”.
When reached out for a response to the issues raised by the retired headteacher, SSNIT said it has taken note of the case and has instituted investigations into it to address it.