There is one enduring national policy that in my estimation needs immediate and adequate attention from policy makers. It is not only outdated, it has outlived its usefulness and has done our nation a great deal of harm. What is more, the policy has cut short remarkable careers and discarded men and women who could still be contributing mightily to our economic development.
The policy I am referencing here is early retirement that is foisted on public workers who reach the age of 60. Taken in its entirety, the policy has served no useful purpose and has been a systemic failure. It has over the decades since its implementation deprived the country of talented, dedicated and vastly experienced public servants.
I don't know whose idea it was, but the policy was ill-advised and poorly thought out. Several factors were not taken into account when it was drawn. Policy makers failed woefully to project into the future.
Formulated at a time when our country was still struggling to find its way after independence, little thought was given to the fact that decades down the road, access to healthcare, proper nutrition and education will invariably lead to an increased life span with a corresponding exponential growth in population.
Against this background, the policy should have been revamped to accommodate the increase in the number of public workers who reach 60 and still have the mental acumen and physical ability to continue working for additional years.
The impact of early retirement can be devastating. It can exact a financial, social and mental toll on early retirees. Compelled to check out earlier than planned, most retirees are unprepared for what awaits them; financial problems due mainly to the paltry pension they collect, loneliness because they miss their colleagues at work and psychological for the simple reason that loneliness leads to self doubt and loss of confidence.
Some would advance the argument that early retirement is good for the huge unemployment problem in the country. I have my doubts. There is no evidence, scientific or otherwise, to remotely suggest that those who are forced to retire early ultimately pave the way for younger workers.
The country's current unsustainable job problem has a lot to do with the gross inefficiency of this government and previous administrations who failed to grow the economy to absorb incoming graduates and many others seeking work.
Early retirement is counterproductive and deprives Ghana of wonderfully talented individuals who have not lost the ability to work and still possess the zeal and energy to get up every morning to prep up for the work day.
To sum up, early retirement, is grossly unfair and ancient and belongs to a whole different time in our nation's history. It needs to be revamped if we want to be competitive on the continent.