The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has engaged with leaders of Christian organisations to find ways of expanding and deepening coverage of the basic national social security scheme for self-employed workers.
The meeting forms part of a series of engagements seeking stakeholder buy-in and support to extend coverage of the SSNIT scheme to the self-employed and workers in the informal sector.
Presently, over 14,000 self-employed workers contribute to the SSNIT Pension Scheme. This low coverage is attributed to the nature of the country’s economy, wherein most people are engaged in self-employment and do not see a need to enrol in the basic national social security scheme.
Speaking at the event, Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, said it has become necessary to extend coverage to informal sector workers – not only to increase the scheme’s active membership and contributor base, but also to ensure that every worker in Ghana enjoys social protection. This, he added, will help reduce poverty and over-dependence on family relations and friends during old age.
In his presentation, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang explained benefits of the SSNIT scheme and the value they provide to members – further stressing that once a member qualifies for pension, the person receives a monthly pension for life subject to an annual increase.
The SSNIT scheme offers unique benefits and provides value that no other pension product offers. The scheme gives superior value to invested members’ contributions. The Trust pays minimum pension by subsidising pensions for pensioners whose salaries were woefully low during active service.
“The Scheme pays invalidity pension regardless of age and with minimal contribution, and also provides a life policy by paying survivors when a member passes on,” he enumerated.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Aboagye-Mensah, lauded SSNIT management for spearheading such an initiative to extend coverage of the SSNIT scheme to self-employed workers.
He explained that although some ministers retire and receive a monthly pension from SSNIT which is augmented by in-house benefits paid by the church, most of its members – largely self-employed – are not under any structured social security scheme. The former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana, noted that the church has a responsibility to promote the holistic development of Christians in the country by ensuring adequate preparation is made for a better life when people retire from active service.
“Most people believe the SSNIT scheme is for formal sector workers. In the past, SSNIT has not reached out enough, but I am happy we have this engagement today,” he noted.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Christian Council of Ghana, Ghana Pentecostal, and Charismatic Council, Church of Pentecost, Methodist Church and Action Chapel among others.
Currently, the Trust is the largest non-bank financial institution in Ghana. Its mandate is to cater to the first-tier of the three-tier pension scheme.
The SSNIT Pension Scheme has an active membership of over 1.7 million. In May 2022, the Trust paid GH¢276.87million to some 228,524 pensioners. The highest pension earner receives GH¢142,565 per month, while the lowest-earning pensioner gets GH¢300.