The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is to embark on a massive campaign, to enrol more self-employed workers in the informal sector into the scheme.
Dubbed Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED) the initiative is aimed at registering 500,000 self-employed workers and reactivating 250,000 dormant contributors in 2023.
In pursuit of this agenda, the Trust in 2022, carried out extensive engagements with stakeholders across the country to solicit their input and support on how the self-employed could also have access to pension during retirement.
Speaking at the launch of the programme in Kumasi on Wednesday (10 May) Director General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang said valuable lessons were learnt from the engagement and this has shaped the rollout of the scheme.
“If we had communicated the unparalleled value and benefits the SSNIT Scheme offers, not only would we see an improvement in self-compliant in the formal sector, but we will definitely have had more than two per cent of our active contributor base being self-employed.
“SEED will help redefine social security in this country and give hope to the self-employed; the hope that they can retire in dignity and comfort”, Dr Tenkorang stated.
Available data show that out of the estimated 9.9 million working population, 6.7 million were self-employed and out of this number only 600,000 persons have some form of social security. Dr Tenkorang who describes the situation as worrying urged Ghanaians particularly those in the informal sector to take part in this initiative to secure their future.
On her part, the Board Chairman of SSNIT, Madam Elizabeth Ohene, noted that though delayed, she was happy that the launch of SEED has come at a time she is chairing the Board of Trustees of SSNIT, but also expressed mixed feelings, pointing out that the nation has not paid attention to the provision of pension for the self-employed.
Report indicates that of the two million people in the country who are above 60 years, only 11% receive regular pensions. What this means is that a lot of people in active service are burdened with taking care of their aged parents and relatives. This trend is expected to continue if immediate steps are not taken to address it.
“The fact that we are now doing this after more than 50 years of existence of SSNIT is simply not right, but I am very excited and encouraged that we are finally doing so. To think that several millions of workers in the country have no assurance of monthly pensions during their old age is quite scary”, she noted.
The leadership of the various self-employed groups that were present at the launch of SEED encouraged their members to prioritise SSNIT Pension and sign onto the Scheme to enjoy the benefits and income security.
The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Hon. Bright Wereko Brobbey, lauded the giant steps SSNIT is taking to provide pension cover for the self-employed. Whilst assuring the Trust of the support of his Ministry to the SEED, he urged the Management of SSNIT to encourage Members of SSNIT to periodically update records of the beneficiaries.
“Most people after registration forget to update their records. So we have instances where people register at an early stage of their lives and after their death, it comes out that none of their children nor spouse was nominated. I will urge the Management of SSNIT to remind contributors to update their records”.
Self-employed workers who have not registered under the Scheme to visit the nearest SSNIT office, contribute regularly on their right earnings using SSNITpay – an electronic payment platform, via mobile money and debit cards.
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.
Currently, the Trust is the largest non-bank financial institution in Ghana. Its mandate is to cater for the First-Tier of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme.
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 1.9 million. In April 2023, the Trust paid a total of GH¢365.01 million to some 235,617 pensioners. The highest pension earner receives GH¢169,725.89 per month, while the lowest-earning new pensioner gets GH¢300.00.
SOURCE: Daily Mail GH