The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has engaged the leadership of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Tema as part of the nationwide tour to educate regional and district leaders of the Congress about the scheme.
In an address on behalf of the Director-General, the Chief Actuary of SSNIT, Joseph Poku, said the meetings, which are being organised in collaboration with the national executives of TUC form part of the Trust’s efforts to improve public knowledge about its operations.
According to Mr. Poku, engagements such as this help to address concerns of members, clarify misconceptions about the operations of the Trust, improve transparency and accountability and enhance stakeholder buy-in.
In his presentation, he indicated that currently, 25 percent of workers on the SSNIT scheme pay monthly contributions of GH¢55 or less. He further noted that if these workers were to retire on the basic salaries of GH¢500 or less, they would earn a monthly pension of GH¢300
He explained that pensions are a direct reflection of the basic salaries on which contributions are paid, therefore, the higher the salaries on which members contribute, the higher the pension. He also added that the longer the period of contribution, the higher the pension right earned, therefore, members who contribute for 35 years and above earn the maximum pension right of 60 percent.
The data also shows that about 66 percent of workers have declared basic salaries of GH¢2,000 or less to the Trust. The Chief Actuary indicated that the pensions paid by SSNIT are only a reflection of these basic salaries workers have declared.
Contrary to public perception, Mr. Poku described the Scheme as generous arguing that, even though workers contribute 11 percent of their basic salaries, the scheme guarantees members up to 60 percent of the average of the three years’ best salaries and pays them a pension for life with annual increments.
Comparatively, he showed that what pensioners are receiving is better than what they would have received if they had invested their contributions in the 91-Day Treasury Bills. “For Pensioners who have been on the Pension Payroll for 15 years, they have received more than two times what they would have received from Treasury Bills”.
The Chief Actuary encouraged participants to focus on the value the SSNIT scheme offers and contribute to their correct salaries to enjoy enhanced pensions.
He added that SSNIT will this year roll out a comprehensive campaign to register self-employed persons and informal sector workers onto the Scheme. “The Trust will soon launch a SSNIT App and mobile money payment platform to ease doing business with members, especially the self-employed.
Speaking on the sideline of the meeting, Chairman of the Greater-Accra Regional Council of Labour, TUC, Mr. Patrick Tetteh Binyemi, underscored the importance of extending the compulsory retirement age from 60 to 65 years.
He explained that there is an urgent need to consider reviewing the pension age to enable workers to contribute more and enjoy enhanced pension upon retirement.
“We must also negotiate with our employers to ensure that a chunk of our earnings goes into payment of SSNIT contribution to enable our members to earn meaningful pension”, he added.
In his submission, the Deputy Secretary-General of the TUC, Joshua Ansah, urged workers to prioritise their pension the moment they are employed, stressing that “what has gone wrong in some people’s lives must not be repeated by us”.