Business News of 2014-06-07

SSNIT streamlines pension benefits payment

The latest application system introduced by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust to automate its core businesses in an attempt to bring more efficiency in its operations, the Operational Business System (OBS), “is the cure to the delays in the payment of SSNIT pension benefits”, Mr. Oteng Asamoah, Corporate Affairs Officer, SSNIT Kumasi Area, has said.

SSNIT contributors due for retirement in the past were made to go through several complex procedures which lasted for many months or even a year.

The irony of the situation was that in several instances some of the ‘retirees’ who often had to endure long journeys to work on the retirement benefit, died before those lengthy procedures were finalised.

However, with the introduction of an OBS into operations of SSNIT, the innumerable defects which hitherto prolonged the processing of pension benefits under the SSNIT pension scheme will be completely eliminated.

“This is the result of systematic and electronic-based mechanisms which allow for speedy and quality services to be rendered, particularly in the areas of employer/member registration, issuance of smart cards, contributions data management, benefits processing among others.”

Mr. Asamoah said this in an exclusive interview with B&FT on the sidelines of a visit by the Director General of SSNIT, Mr. Ernest Thompson, to the Ashanti Region.

He also observed that the biometric registration of all existing members of the Social Security Scheme, which is a key component of the OBS, comes along with some technical measures to check employers who undeclare employees.

He explained further that other initiatives like the ‘whistleblower’ concept and ‘hit the road’ have also been set up, along with the technical checks provided for by the new application system to get more people registered with the SSNIT scheme.

Presently, the ongoing biometric registration exercise at the Adum branch of SSNIT in Kumasi is said to have covered almost 400 contributors. However, existing contributors are advised not rush to queue to undergo the biometric registration exercise.

The activities of the biometric registration involves scanning of all ten fingerprints of members, and capturing their image and signature digitally among some other useful supplementary data.

It is believed that this will facilitate easy and quick verification of scheme-members’ identities, eliminate multiple registration, minimise fraud among others, as well as guarantee prompt processing and payment of benefits.

According to Mr. Asamoah, the visit by the Director General to the Ashanti Region forms part of an outreach programme designed to acquaint its boss with the workings of SSNIT in other parts of the country.

“He entreated staff of SSNIT in all the areas he visited to put in more effort to ensure the successful implementation and running of the OBS and biometric registration exercise, which was also a key objective for the visit.”

He said among other things that the trip also provided an opportunity for the Director General to obtain first-hand information on the state of some landed properties of SSNIT in the region.