The Corporate Affairs Manager of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), has bemoaned the low number of Ghanaian workers, who are contributors to the scheme.
From a population of over 30 million people, Afua Sarkodie, disclosed that a little above 1.6 million people, representing about 11percent of workers in the country are actively contributing to the scheme.
"This should concern all of us and we must support the Trust to register more people to join the Scheme so that every worker in Ghana after having toiled for several years can retire without angst and in relative comfort", she said.
She made the disclosure when the management of the SSNIT presented a brand new Toyota pickup vehicle to the National Pensioners Association (NPA).
The vehicle was handed over at a short ceremony held at the SSNIT Pension House in Accra, on February 10, 2021.
The presentation is in response to an earlier request for the Trust to assist the Association to address transportation challenges. The donation is expected to assist the Association in the discharge of their daily activities.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori Tenkorang, noted that the gesture is one more demonstration of the Trust's commitment to make the pensioner the center of all major activities.
He explained that the value SSNIT places on pensioners, has guided and helped the Trust to strengthen the relationship that exists between SSNIT and the NPA over the past four years.
"I want to assure our cherished pensioners of Management's continuous support for their activities".
"Despite the adverse impact of Covid-19 on businesses, we will continue, as I have said, to pay your monthly pensions without fail or delay", he noted.
The Acting General Secretary of the NPA, Stephen Boakye, appreciated the Management of SSNIT for yet another kind gesture to the Association.
He also commended SSNIT Management for previous donations, especially the Gh¢800,000 meant to support the medical care of pensioners under the Pensioners' Medical Scheme (PMS).
"We appreciate SSNIT's assistance and corporation. The relationship that has existed between NPA and SSNIT over the past years, especially under the current Management has been very cordial. We express our utmost appreciation and state that the vehicle will be used for its intended purpose", Mr Boakye said.
In November 2020, the Association honoured the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SSNIT, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor and the Director-General of the Trust, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang for their immense contributions to the welfare of the Association.
The Trust has in time past provided and renovated office accommodation for the Association for their smooth operations.
Key highlights of Director-General's speech
In 2020 alone, SSNIT spent a total of Gh¢3.3 billion on benefits payments. This is made up of Gh¢2.9 billion on pensions and Gh¢330 million as lump sum payments to other beneficiaries (refund of contributions, Old Age Lump Sum, Survivors Lump Sum and Emigration Benefit). The total expenditure is expected to increase further this year as more workers retire and apply for their benefits.
To meet our obligations towards these pensioners, we have initiated steps to grow the fund and carry out further cost-cutting measures.
Already, the Trust has through cost cuttings made a total savings of over GH¢512 million since 2017. These include:
i. GH¢246 million savings on legacy investment transactions.
ii. Net savings of over GH¢144 million as at 31st December, 2020 from the deactivation of over 11,000 pensioners from the payroll.
iii. Savings of over GH¢121 million on ICT Support Fees over the period.
This was achieved through annual savings of US$4,456,038.22 and GH¢4,910,748.
I am happy to say that the days when retirees had to wait for about two months or more to receive their first pension pay are over. We now pay Pensioners within an average of 13 days after receiving their applications. This used to be 47 days in 2016.
Also, pensioners who walk into any of our offices to transact business are now speedily attended to. They do not have to join any long queues before being served due to the introduction of the Pensioners Priority Desk.
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust is a Statutory Public Trust with the mandate of administering the First Tier Basic National Social Security Pension Scheme under the National Pensions Act 2008 (Act 766).
SSNIT is charged with the responsibility of replacing part of lost income to its contributors and their dependents due to old age, invalidity, emigration or death.
The pension a member enjoys under the First Tier Scheme is dependent on the Basic Salary (on which contributions were made) and the number of months one has contributed to the Scheme.
As at December 2020, the pensioner population of the SSNIT Scheme was about 230 million, with over 1.63 million active contributors.