The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, has disclosed that as much as 25 percent of workers on the scheme pay monthly contributions of GH55 or less.
He however added that the scheme currently pays pensions at a rate better than off-scheme investments, saying that workers who retire on basic salaries of GH¢500 or less will earn a monthly pension of approximately GH¢300.
The DG of the Trust made this known at a sensitisation forum for the leadership and members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) held in Tamale, the Northern Region capital.
Contrary to public perception, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang described the scheme as generous; saying although workers contribute 11 percent of their basic salaries, the scheme guarantees members up to 60 percent of the average from three years’ best salaries and pays them a pension for life with annual increments.
He noted that the amount pensioners receive is better than what they would have received if they had invested their contributions in 91-day Treasury bills.
“For pensioners who have been on the pension payroll for 15 years, they have received more than twice what they would have received from Treasury bills,” he stated.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang also stated that about 66 percent of workers have declared basic salaries of GH¢2,000 or less to the Trust, adding that the pensions paid by SSNIT are only a reflection of these basic salaries workers have declared.
“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. Also, the longer the period of contribution, the higher the Pension Right (percentage of salaries) earned; therefore, members who contribute for 35 years and above earn the maximum Pension Right of 60%,” he noted.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang further stated that SSNIT will this year roll-out a comprehensive campaign to register self-employed persons and informal sector workers onto the scheme.
Speaking in an interview on the meeting’s sidelines, the Director-General indicated that adoption of the Ghana Card by the Trust has been successful – with over 1.9 million members merging their numbers.
Deputy Secretary-General of the TUC, Joshua Ansah, entreated participants to take full advantage of the engagement to become better-equipped to educate the workers they represent.
He urged workers to take charge of their future, saying: “We must all think about retirement the very moment we receive our appointment letters, because a day is coming when we can no longer work’’.
The Tamale Regional Chairman of TUC, Joseph Condateri, commended the Trust for continuously engaging workers and leadership of the TUC.
He urged participants to endeavour to get better clarification of SSNIT activities and contribute to save for their future.
The Principal Industrial Relations Officer for Construction and Building Materials Workers Union (CBMWU) of TUC, Madam Salamatu Adam, said the engagement has been very educative.
She called for more of such meetings to be held at the district and regional levels to get more workers, including the self-employed, to fully appreciate the scheme and thus join and contribute toward securing their future.
A participant and representative of the Union of Industries, Commerce and Finance Workers (UNICOF), Madam Fatahiya Yamusah, said the engagement has brought some clarity to her.
She said continuous engagement with stakeholders will bring a lot of clarity to the many questions bothering workers about the SSNIT scheme, particularly the low pension benefits paid.