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04-Oct-2019  
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A Deputy Chairman of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mr Kwesi Quartey, has said Ghana needs to reconsider and review its retirement age upwards from the stipulated 60 years.

Mr Quartey said that would help the nation benefit from the knowledge and experience of people who fell within that age bracket who were still very productive.

“As people age, they acquire knowledge and experience in their areas of expertise and they become valuable resources where they can deliver to the best of their ability. Most people, at the age of 60, are still productive and active and they tend to be at the height of their prowess,” he stated.

He, therefore, suggested that the retirement age should be made flexible, so that if a person was healthy and willing, he or she would be given the chance to continue working for some few more years after attaining 60 years.

Conference

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Mr Quartey made the suggestion when he delivered the keynote address at the annual research conference on ageing organised by the Centre for Ageing Studies of the University of Ghana.

The two-day conference, which is the third edition, is being held at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana on the theme: “Ageing in the African context: Emerging issues and empowering options”.

The conference, which forms part of the International Day of Older Persons, seeks to share and understand issues surrounding ageing and how best to prosecute the agenda for quality life for the elderly.

The 2010 Population and Housing Census showed that although the proportion of older persons (60+ years) decreased from 7.2 per cent in 2000 to 6.7 per cent in 2010, in terms of absolute numbers there had been a seven-fold increase in the population of the aged from 215,258 in 1960 to 1,643,978 in 2010.

The proportion of the female elderly population was 56 per cent, compared with 44 per cent for males.

Valuable resources

Mr Quartey said Africa lacked trained skilled labour and, therefore, people who had acquired skills and knowledge over a long period of time should be given the chance to transfer their knowledge, skills and expertise to the younger generation.

He said the aged became valuable resources and a reliable storehouse of knowledge and skills who could immensely contribute their quota to the development of the country even when they were 60 years.

He further noted that the ageing population was growing and, therefore, there was the need to pay critical attention to the needs of the aged to ensure their well-being and quality of life.

Although the government of Ghana approved a National Ageing Policy in 2010, Mr Quartey said, much had not been done to promote the welfare and well-being of the aged in the country.

Retirement age gradually increasing

The minimum retirement age in some developed countries had gradually increased from 60 to 62 years by 2018 and it is expected to be gradually reviewed upwards from 65 to 67 years by 2023.

In the United States, the retirement age is between 62 and 65 years and it is

optional. The full retirement age there will be increased gradually by 2023 and will reach 67 years.

In Belgium, the legal retirement age is 65 in 2019, but it is expected to be reviewed in 2025 to 66 and by 2030 it will be 67 for both women and men.

In Australia, the retirement age is to be increased gradually to 67 years by July 2023, but currently it is 65.

In Singapore, the Retirement Age Act (RAA) was replaced by the Retirement and Re-employment Act (RRA) in 2012. Under the RRA, the statutory minimum retirement age is still 62, but employers are now required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62 up to the age of 65.

Spain is no different, as it is reviewing its retirement age from 65 to 67 years by 2027.

However, in Africa, the retirement age is 60 years.

Major concerns

Mr Quartey said Ghana needed to consider its retirement age, which would eventually be considered by other African countries.

He said some of the major concerns of older persons in Ghana were income security and access to quality health care.

“In order to realise their right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, older persons must have access to friendly and affordable health care, information and services that meet their needs, ” he noted.

Going forward, he said, there was the need to plan for the ageing population in order to transform their challenges into opportunities.

Ageing policy

The Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Dr Samuel Ayete-Nyampong, said inadequate provision was made by the State to accommodate the increasing ageing population in the country.

Additionally, he said, there was limited knowledge and information on ageing, for which reason the aged were either abused or maltreated.

He said facilities such as generic hospitals and residential homes for older persons where older persons who could not take care of themselves could be sent were virtually missing in the country.

The Director of the Centre for Ageing Studies, Prof. Charles Mate-Kole, said the conference was aimed at changing the negative perception people had about the aged.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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