Work and Pension
Dr. Julius Nyiawung
Human Resource Mobilization
Ambazonia Work and Pensions (AWP) is an AGC governmental department responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating policies in relation to welfare, pensions (both public and private), and child maintenance. In most developed countries, the government organ dealing with work and pensions administers the public pension and a range of working age, disability, and ill-health benefits to their citizens. This AGC department is envisaged to assume similar responsibilities in the future Ambazonia.
It is generally acknowledged that work as an activity organizes and provides meaning to the use of time in a society and is important in structuring daily life and in enabling a sense of continuity and fulfillment. What's more, it is an important activity to address poverty, particularly in the case of Ambazonia where unemployment stands at around 70%. Work is also argued to be an antidote against boredom and emptiness. But some people may just be unavailable for work during periods of illness through disability and other life-related circumstances. This latter group of individuals is vulnerable to poverty and other socio-economic hardship situations which may negatively impact life. However, whether citizens work or not, they aspire to live through their old age with relatively less to worry about. Accordingly, as people develop through their working lifetime, they have an expectation that a time will come when they will be able to retire. For some people, their private pension contributions or state pension may provide a basic level of income as a safety net against old age poverty and unnecessary sufferings. Thus, pension arrangements have a number of advantages:
- • when people come to retire, they will experience a reduction in income - a pension makes up for some of this loss of income in retirement;
- • pension schemes can provide protection in the form of lump sums and pensions to dependents in the event of a member's death;
- • in order to encourage pension schemes, some countries around the world provide tax relief on contributions made to pension schemes and the growth in their investments.
Present Work and Pension System in Ambaland
Currently in Ambaland, while on paper and operational to some extent, work and pension-related services are barely efficient and effective to a very small proportion of the workforce to guard against the effects of ‘forced’ unemployment and the dangers associated with not having a source of income at old age. This is a result of corruption, nepotism, and outdated government policies that fail to reflect reality in this crucial domain of the socio-economic life of the nation. The administered work and pension scheme in Ambaland is based on an antiquated French system imposed by the colonial regime of La Republique du Cameroun (LRC).
The LRC scheme is regulated by a 1969 (pensions) law, implemented in 1974, with 1984 and 1990 amendments. It only provides a Social insurance system for employed persons and excludes the self-employed. Also, the voluntary coverage for previously covered workers has not yet been implemented. There is another special system for civil servants only. The social insurance system has a source of income:
2.8% of gross earnings.
4.2% of gross payroll.
Government of LRC:
Services covered under the manipulated (there no statutory benefits provided in any case) system include old age pension, old age grant, disability pension, sickness and maternity benefits, workers medical benefits, temporary disability benefit, survival grant, child benefit, etc., but as usual, to make a claim requires that you bribe the civil servants handling your case more than the amount you would receive. And even if you to receive without bribing, the amount would barely survive someone for a week – take, for example, average child benefit of around $15 a month per child.
A Synopsis of the new AWP (Ambazonia Work and Pension)
We will be responsible for:
- • understanding and dealing with the causes of poverty rather than its symptoms in Ambaland
- • encouraging people to work and become less reliant on the state
- • encouraging disabled people and those with ill health to take up work and be independent
- • providing a decent income for people of pension age and promoting saving for retirement
- • providing value for money and guard against fraud and error
- • reducing work-related death and serious injury in workplaces through the Workplace Safety Authority.
There will be a number of governmental agencies working under the department such as the Pension Board, Careers Activation Centre, etc.
There will be a range of social benefits for the unemployed tailored to primarily get Ambazonians back to work, help the needy, disabled, and lift all above the poverty line. This will be managed by a separate but integrated department.
Ambazonia’s pension system will have the state-run Pension Service (APS), the Severance Pay System and tax-favored private pension plans.
Ambazonia Pension Service (APS)
The APS is a partially funded, defined benefit (DB) system covering the majority of the labor force. Groups that are not in the system include low-income people, temporary and daily workers, as well as self-employed workers who do not declare income.
Employers and employees will contribute separate ‘scales’ of wages each to this fund that will be judiciously managed. The benefit formula consists of basic and earnings-related portions. The system is progressive and benefits will be paid mainly in the form of an annuity which will be indexed to prices with the full pension available at age 65. The retirement age will rise to 70 by 2040.
Other public schemes
There will be no additional pension schemes for public sector employees, like all teachers, military, nurses, civil servants, etc. employed by the government at federal and county levels will be under the APS scheme.
There will be two occupational systems that exist alongside each other.
The severance pay system
This will be mandatory for companies with five or more employees. Contributions are made by employers only and employees will be entitled to severance pay after one year of continuous employment. Companies running severance pay schemes may qualify for tax benefits.
The corporate pension system
The corporate pension system operates on a voluntary basis. Companies with five or more employees can convert severance pay into corporate pensions. This conversion needs to be based on an agreement between employers and employees. Unlike in the severance pay system, enterprises with less than five employees and part-time employees are allowed to participate in the new system. Employees can contribute voluntarily.
The motivation for this new work and pension scheme in Ambazonia will be to:
- • oversee state-funded and private pension schemes in Ambaland.
- • run an effective welfare system that enables people to achieve financial independence by providing assistance and guidance into employment in Ambazonia.
- • increase saving for, and security in, later life
- • create a fair and affordable welfare system which improves the life chances of children
- • deliver outstanding services to our customers and claimants
- • transform the way we deliver our services to reduce costs and increase efficiency
These are basic responsibilities of the state to provide and support a dignified life for all Ambazonians that is currently inexistent.