The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has paid out a little over GH¢2.7 billion, to retired workers and dependents of deceased members, from the beginning of the year to September 2021, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, has disclosed.
This follows a similar payment of a total of GH¢3.3 billion, at the close of the previous year, 2020. With an active contributor base of about 1.7 million, the SSNIT scheme in October 2021 alone is said to have paid a total of GH¢246.59 million to some 219,598 pensioners.
These payments to the SSNIT beneficiaries, according to Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang, are indicative of the scheme’s commitment to contributing to securing and improving the lives of contributors or their dependents, in retirement or death.
Speaking in an interview at the sidelines of an ‘Employers’ Breakfast Meeting,’ in Kumasi, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang noted that the Trust intends to embark on a ‘sale-drive’ targeted at 80 percent of the Ghanaian workforce listed under the informal sector. He reckoned that the narrative of some people in the informal sector is that the SSNIT scheme is only for the government workers or that one has to be working in an office.
It is against this background that he said “it is about time that we got out of our offices and engage people to let them know that they too are entitled to insure the incomes that they are making today for the future.” The expansion of the operation, he mentioned, will promote voluntary contribution.
This notwithstanding, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang intimated that the trust will continue to engage those in the formal sector to ensure that every worker is covered. He said the trust over the period has made tremendous improvement in its operations, which has now made it possible for pensions to be paid on an average of 10 days after an application has been filed and received.
The Director-General of SSNIT attributed some of these developments to the digitization and “also making sure that we are pushing out the contribution statements to employees.”
Addressing participants at the meeting, he entreated employers to pay SSNIT contributions of workers on their right earnings to enable contributors to get decent pensions on retirement.
He indicated that the amount one receives as pension is a reflection of their contribution history while noting that if employers declare small basic salaries for their workers to the trust and pay them big allowances, the worker will be worse off during retirement.
“As we speak, over 80 percent of workers in Ghana contribute GH¢275.00 or less each month towards their pension from SSNIT. This means they have declared salaries of GH¢2,500.00 or less to us. Should the contributions remain unchanged, 80 per cent of members will receive pensions of GH¢1, 500 or less when they retire.”
He also disclosed that only 5.3% of workers in Ghana are contributing on salaries of GH¢5,000.00 or more. So, ensure your workers receive meaningful pensions when they retire by contributing on their right salaries.”
Employers were also charged to encourage their employees to merge their SSNIT and NIA numbers to be able to access pension services from 2022.
The 2021 SSNIT Employers’ Breakfast meeting is the second of its kind to be held since the maiden edition in 2019, in Accra. Organised under the theme, ‘Social Security: Employer compliance and its impact on businesses and employees’ morale’, the event provided a platform to discuss innovative ways to further enhance the quality service delivered by the Trust.
The meeting with selected employers is to strengthen the relationship between the Trust and compliant employers and to help deepen their understanding of the operations of the First Tier Social Security Scheme.