Management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has held a stakeholder meeting with leaders and Muslim community members to find ways to expand and deepen coverage of the Basic National Social Security Scheme to self-employed workers.
The meeting, held in Accra, forms part of a series of engagements to seek stakeholder buy-in and support to extend the coverage of the SSNIT Scheme to the self-employed and workers and workers in the informal sector.
Presently, over 14,000 self-employed workers contribute to the SSNIT Pension Scheme. The low coverage is attributed to the nature of the economy of the country, where most people are engaged in their businesses and do not see the need to enrol on the Basic National Social Security Scheme.
Speaking at the event, the 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 active membership and contributor base of the Scheme 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 that the SSNIT Scheme is a contract and pays 60 percent of the highest insured amount to members during retirement, further stressing that once a member qualifies for a 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 the SSNIT Scheme provides a life policy by paying survivors when a member passes on,” he said.
On his part, the spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, lauded SSNIT management for spearheading such an initiative to extend the coverage of the SSNIT Scheme to self-employed workers.
He entreated the Trust to organise such fora often to help deepen knowledge and understanding of the Scheme.
A representative from the Office of the National Chief Imam, Mamah Gado Mohammed, also commended the Trust for organizing the stakeholder meeting.
“What you have done today, is a big eye opener. My only regret is that this should have been done when we joined the SSNIT Scheme. Perhaps, we could have done better for ourselves but we say thank you. Whatever we have been introduced to, we will pass it on to those who need to be told,” he noted.