Over GH¢230million remains outstanding as debt by the private sector to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) due to defaults, Director-General of the Trust Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang has revealed.
Addressing Employers at the 2021 Employers’ Breakfast Meeting with the Trust, Dr. Tenkorang said: “As of September this year, the confirmed debt of establishments within the private sector amounted to over GH¢230million. This will certainly go up if we retrieve all outstanding Contribution Reports and update inspections on all establishments,” he added.
The Director-General indicated to the employers that the trust takes take no delight in taking legal action against them, “But if we do not, they will not be able to fulfil their obligation to pay retirement benefits to your workers.
“When you default in paying contributions, these monies become debts which we must collect. If we fail to collect these debts, it does not absolve us of our responsibility and obligation to the worker,” he said to the employers.
“We understand that businesses go through hard times, which is why we engage employers who might for one reason or another delay in complying. So, when employers default there is a 30-day grace period within which you can pay up or negotiate mutually agreeable terms of settlement.”
Per the Trust’s data, as at the end of September about 7,951 criminal cases remained pending in court against employers for various offences: including failure to register establishments or workers; failure to submit Contribution Reports or employers’ records; and failure to pay contributions and associated penalties.
This, the Director General said, are a drain on both employers and the Trust, as the court action negatively affects the defaulting establishment’s image as well. “This is certainly not the way we want to go,” he said.
“We want to have a pension system wherein the majority of employers voluntarily comply and avoid payment of needless penalties. Paying penalties is a huge cost to businesses and impairs organisational reputation. So, this morning, if there is one message I’d like to strongly emphasise, then it is for employers to pay on time; that is, on or before the 14th of the ensuing month,” Dr. Tenkorang emphasised.
“Last year, the Trust spent in excess of GH¢3.3billion in benefits payments; and as of 2021 quarter three, it had paid over GH¢2.7billion to the about-220,000 pensioners on its pensions payroll, including some of your former staff.”