IN many of our villages, retired workers live in poverty.
Once reasonably well-off workers live on one meal a day in houses that are in dire need of repair.
These are workers who lived from pay cheque to pay cheque and loans from financial institutions.
They mistakenly believed that their superannuation savings would be sufficient to retire on.
This is a fate that will befall many of the present generation of workers unless we do something to address financial illiteracy of workers.
The PNG Trade Union Congress has rightly identified the problem and come out with a solution: Financial education of workers.
The majority of workers don’t understand that a lifetime of forced savings with the superannuation funds is at most equal to only six years of normal salaries.
How can one live comfortably on that for approximately 20 years of retirement life?
To live a financially-secure retirement life, the compulsory superannuation savings must be supplemented by extra voluntary savings and investments.
This is unlikely to happen without financial education which teaches how to prepare budgets for short-term and long-term needs, how to live below past income level and save, and how and where to invest the savings.
PNGTUC: Do this for the good of our workers, their families, and our country.
If we can offer free education to our children costing K600 million each year, why can’t we offer PNGTUC a one-off small amount of money to roll out their education programme?
After all, workers are the taxpayers that support the free education of children.
I understand our Government is going through financial difficulties.
So to finance this education, I propose that each district development authority should allocate a one-off amount of say K1000 only from their budget to PNGTUC to conduct this education to workers in their districts.
This is an insignificant amount of money from the appropriation of K 5million but the benefits they reap will be enormous.
Teachers will be back in classrooms, health workers will be in clinics, and other officers back in their offices.
Workers will do what we pay them to do: Serve our people rather than running around looking for money to borrow or asking for bribes before service delivery.
I challenge leaders like governors Agarobe, Juffa, Haiveta, Parkop, and others like deputy prime minister Abel, ministers Tkatchenko, Basil, and Maru, and other MPs like Pruaitch, Rosso and so on to carefully consider my proposal.
I also urge PNGTUC to consider my suggestion and directly approach DDAs for help.