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SSNIT takes stakeholder engagement to Bolgatanga, other regions

Joseph Poku.jpeg Acting Chief Actuary of SSNIT, Joseph Poku

Wed, 30 Mar 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has commenced regional stakeholder meetings with worker groups, trade associations, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on ways to expand and deepen coverage of the Basic National Social Security Scheme to self-employed workers.

The meeting, which was held in the Upper East Regional Capital, Bolgatanga, and will continue Wednesday in Wa then Tamale on Thursday.

These engagements are to seek stakeholder buy-in and support to extend coverage of the SSNIT Scheme to the self-employed and workers in the informal sector.

Earlier, SSNIT had engaged members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), members of Union of Informal Workers Associations (UNIWA) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), among others in Accra.

Speaking at the event in Bolgatanga, the acting Chief Actuary of SSNIT, Mr. Joseph Poku, said it has become necessary to extend coverage of the SSNIT Scheme to informal sector workers to ensure every worker in Ghana receives pension in the future.

This, he added will help reduce poverty and over-dependence on family relations and friends during old age or in the event of permanent invalidity.

In his presentation, Mr. Poku the benefits of the SSNIT Scheme to include Old Age Pension, Invalidity Pension, Survivors’ Lump sum and Emigration benefit and explained the value to Members and their dependants.

He indicated that “the SSNIT Scheme pays minimum pension by subsidising pensions for pensioners whose salaries were woefully low when they were in active service or contributors who contributed on a minimal salary to the Scheme”.

He added that the “Trust pays you till you pass on and the Scheme provides a life policy by paying survivors when a Member dies”.

For Members who can no longer work due to permanent disease or illness, the Scheme pays them Invalidity Pension regardless of age and with only 12 months of contributions within the last three years prior to the person becoming invalid.

Despite the benefits the Scheme provides, only about 14,000 self-employed workers out of the estimated 10 million self-employed and workers in the informal sector contribute to the SSNIT Pension Scheme.

Addressing this, Mr. Poku explained that the SSNIT Scheme is for all workers and not only those in the formal sector. He therefore appealed to participants to educate their members and act as ambassadors in extending the Basic National Pensions scheme to all especially the self-employed.

In an interview after the event, the regional chairman of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr. John Akunzebe, indicated how beneficial the engagement has been and advised self-employed persons to join and benefit from the Scheme. “Everyone needs to contribute to benefit from the pension Scheme and I think what SSNIT has embarked on is laudable.”

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT or the Trust) is a statutory public institution charged under the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766 as amended by Act 883) with the administration of Ghana’s Basic National Social Security Scheme.

Its mandate is to cater for the First-Tier of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme. Currently, the Trust is the largest non-bank financial institution in Ghana.

The SSNIT Scheme replaces part of the lost income of Members due to Old Age, Invalidity or upon the death of a Member, where nominated dependant(s) receive a lump sum payment. It also pays Emigration benefits to non-Ghanaian Members who are leaving Ghana permanently.

The SSNIT Pension Scheme has an active membership of over 1.7 million. In March 2022, the Trust paid a total of GH¢274.66 million to some 227,128 pensioners.

The highest pension earner receives GH¢142,564.97 per month, while the lowest-earning pensioner gets GH¢300.00.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com