The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has collected GH₵439.6 million arrears, in the payment of contribution of workers by defaulting employers, out of which GH₵208.9 million was through prosecution, as at October 2019, the Deputy Director-General, Operations, and Benefits, Mrs. Laurette Korkor Otchere, has said.
She said the SSNIT takes no delight in taking an employer to court but noted that the Trust has an obligation to pay retirement benefits to workers, “and so when you default in paying the contributions, these monies become debts, which we must collect.”
She observed that if SSNIT fails to collect these debts, “it does not absolve us of our responsibility and obligation to the worker.”
The Deputy Director-General, Operations, and Benefits noted that SSNIT cannot meet any of its obligations, to the worker or the pensioner without employers. She added for example that SSNIT pays over GH₵227 million monthly pension payroll obligations to pensioners.
Mrs. Korkor Otchere explained that it is the desire of SSNIT to have a pension system where employers will voluntarily comply to avoid the payment of needless penalties.
In view of this, she commended employers who pay their workers contributions diligently while encouraging all others to do same.
Mrs. Korkor Otchere who was speaking at a seminar for SSNIT focal persons, in Kumasi, said that for the first time, the Trust is distributing soft copies of Annual Statements of account to members through email and text messaging.
She revealed that about 99.8 percent of contributors were sent their Annual Statements of Account through email and text messages. She, therefore, encouraged members to update their records with the Trust in order to receive statements and other correspondence from the Trust.
“We count on you, as employers, to help echo this message,” she added.
On the deactivation exercise and re-enrolment of pensioners aged 72 and above, she disclosed that the Trust has saved GH₵62.9 million as of November 2019, with 6,268 ‘ghosts names’ taken off the pension payroll.
She mentioned that from February 1, 2020, all pensioners who have not gone through the SSNIT biometric re-enrolment will be taken off the pension payroll.
“We would like to once again remind all our cherished Pensioners who are yet to re-enroll biometrically to visit the nearest SSNIT Branch to do so, not later than January 31, 2020, to avoid being deactivated from the pension payroll.”
The SSNIT Focal Persons’ seminar was organized for people who are assumed to be influential and vocal in their institutions as well as in their communities.
The Deputy Director-General, Operations, and Benefits explained that the primary objective of the seminar is to strengthen the relationship with employers, help deepen the understanding of the operations of the First Tier Scheme.
She said this will position the focal persons to spearhead the SSNIT agenda at their institutions and local communities.
The Kumasi Area Manager, Mr. Alhassan A. Mahamadu, said the programme is aimed at training the focal persons as marshals to champion the agenda of SSNIT in their offices and communities.
“This will strengthen our relationship with employers as well as building the culture of Social Security within organisations and communities where SSNIT officials may not always be available in all places at a time.”
It is also to empower people to take control of their pension as well as increase awareness and knowledge on the SSNIT Scheme.