The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has saved GH¢43million as of April this year, after deleting over 6,300 ghost pensioners from its payroll.
The Trust in February last year began an exercise to clean the pension’s payroll of ghost names in collaboration with the banks – which monitored dormant accounts over time and terminated those it deemed ghost pensioners.
Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director-General of SSNIT who made this known, indicated that cleaning the pensions payroll formed part of the prudent internal and external management and cost-saving practices aimed at building a robust, self-sustaining Scheme.
SSNIT has a total of 1,551,718 active contributors as of March 2019, and 205,094 pensioners on its payroll – with the highest paid pensioner receiving GH¢55,899.57 a month, while the minimum pension paid is GH300.00.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang was speaking at an educational forum organised by SSNIT in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to discuss social security issues, particularly on pensions and benefit computations.
It was aimed at promoting knowledge of the SSNIT Scheme, empowering organised labour as peer educators for the Trust and demystifying controversial issues surrounding computation of benefits to contributors.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang stressed that sustainability of the Scheme is very essential, and urged all institutions to ensure that the Trust runs efficiently and effectively.
He said the external actuarial valuation suggested that the contribution rate necessary to pay benefits over the next 50 years and to accumulate assets representing three years of total expenditure is around 19.2 percent.
Last year, he said, the Trust spent GH¢2.5billion on benefits payments – and indicated that GH¢230million is being spent on funding pensions payment to over 200,000 pensioners monthly.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang added that more than one million cedis is spent on Invalidity Pension every month, adding that SSNIT is committed to paying all legitimate claims.
He said there are no myths surrounding benefits computation, and that pensions are direct reflections of salaries from which contributions are paid, saying: “With the SSNIT Pension Scheme, what you put in is what you get out”.
He said SSNIT has embarked on an aggressive public education agenda to promote knowledge of the scheme among Ghanaians, and that the Trust is leveraging on its large social media following to educate and engage millennials.
Mr. Joseph Poku, the Pensions Manager who took participants through the SSNIT benefits computation, enumerated the three factors that are considered in computation of benefits under the National Pensions Act 2008, Act 766 – being age, average of best 36 months’ salary, and earned pension right.
He said a contributor is entitled to a pension right based on the number of months contributed to the Scheme, and gave the minimum and maximum pension right earned for 180 and 420 months as 37.5 and 60 percent respectively.
He said salary is a key factor in the computation of pensions – and so the higher the salary percentage figure one contributes, the higher his/her pension.
Mr. Joshua Ansah, the Deputy General Secretary of TUC, noted with concern that some workers connive with their employers to pay little contributions to SSNIT and deposit huge sums to the private trust funds.
He advised workers to be interested in consolidating their salaries in order to have a meaningful pension instead of bagging huge allowances, which have no bearing on the computation of pensions.
SSNIT was established in 1972 under NRCD 127. It manages the First Tier Contributions of 13.5 percent of workers’ basic salary. Eleven percent of the amount is invested in the Social Security Fund, while 2.5 percent goes into the National Health Insurance Scheme.