Ecobank Ghana, has presented an amount of GH¢28.8 million as a dividend for the year 2020 to the Management of Social Security and National Insurance Trust, SSNIT, at the Pension House in Accra, which represents an increase of 83percent over the 2019 dividend payment of GH¢15.7 million.
Presenting the dividend, the Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Daniel Sackey, mentioned that even though the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had directed that dividends should not be paid for the 2020 financial year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its possible impact on the balance sheets of banks, "considering the strong performance of the bank and following further engagements with the Regulator, we were given the go ahead to pay dividends to our shareholders."
Mr Sackey, further stated that being one of the key investment vehicles of SSNIT, which is the second largest shareholder after Ecobank's parent company, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, it was proper that on an annual basis, the Bank comes to render accounts to the investor.
He added that this year, Ecobank, is quite proud and happy to have returned a significant amount of dividend to SSNIT.
Receiving the dividend, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, expressed gratitude to the Board, Management and staff of Ecobank for ensuring the Trust's investment yielded returns, despite the challenging times occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We wished the dividend was more because we have huge monthly pension's payments we are obliged to make. Currently, we are paying about GH¢250 million to pensioners monthly. We therefore anticipate higher returns for the current year considering the improvement in the economy", he stated.
"The SSNIT Scheme relies largely on contributions collected and investment returns to pay benefits. In running the Scheme, we rely on the returns from investments that we have in investee companies to meet our obligations" Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang added.
He assured that the Trust is committed to investing prudently and ensuring workers funds are safe.
"Management of the Trust is committed to restructuring existing investments and investing in low risk but high yielding investment assets. Based on the sound policies adopted, we are confident that in the coming years, a lot more investee companies will be posting some very good returns", he stated.
Also commenting on the presentation, the Deputy Director-General, Investments and Development, SSNIT, Mr Kofi Osafo Maafo, lauded the bank for their strong performance, adding that all the key indicators were showing a positive trend including a solid capital adequacy ratio of 20percent.
The Trust's investments in banks stood at GH¢1.76 billion as at December 2020. This constitutes 16.6percent of the total investment portfolio of the Scheme. With 16.21percent shares, SSNIT is the second largest shareholder in Ecobank Ghana.
Present at the event, were the Executive Operations Director in charge of Finance, Dr. Edward Botchway and the Business Manager, Mr Isaac Baah all from Ecobank.
From SSNIT were the Corporate Affairs Manager, Ms. Afua Sarkodie, Portfolio Performance Monitoring Manager, Ms. Patience Akua Owusu and Portfolio Manager for Equities, Mrs. Akosua Nelson-Cofie.
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is a statutory public Trust charged under the National Pensions Act, 2008 Act 766 with the administration of Ghana's Basic National Social Security Scheme.
As the operator of the First Tier of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme, it replaces part of lost income of workers in Ghana due to Old Age, Invalidity or Death of a member where lump sum payment is made to dependents.
It also pays Emigration benefit to a non-Ghanaian member who is leaving Ghana permanently.