The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, has reaffirmed SSNIT’s commitment to deepen and extend coverage of the Basic National Social Security Scheme to self-employed persons and informal sector workers to ensure every worker in Ghana receives pension in the future.
He said this when he addressed leaders of the various self-employed and informal sector worker groups in the Eastern Region as part of measures to expand and deepen coverage of the pension scheme to self-employed workers.
Already, the Trust has engaged about 1,300 stakeholders in the various regions across the country. The meeting in Koforidua attracted about 164 participants.
Speaking at the event, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang pointed out the unique benefits of the scheme stating that the benefit pay-outs under the scheme is unparalleled by any other pension scheme in the country.
In his presentation, he indicated that the SSNIT Scheme pays Old Age Pension, Invalidity Pension, Survivors’ Lump sum and Emigration benefit. He also stressed that the value Members derive from SSNIT outweighs Members’ total contributions and accrued interests.
“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”. According to him, SSNIT treats every Member equally. “The benefits employees of organisations enjoy when they qualify are not different from what is paid to the self-employed Members of the Scheme.”
He added that the “Trust pays you till you pass on and the Scheme provides a life policy as well”.
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.
For Members who can no longer work due to permanent disease or illness, the Scheme pays them an 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 SSNIT Pension 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, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang explained that the SSNIT Scheme is for all workers and not only those in the formal sector. He, therefore, appealed to participants to help create awareness among their members to increase enrolment.
A participant, Mr Muniro Alhassan, the New Juaben Welfare Chairman for GPRTU – Eastern Region raised concerns of the of their inability to join the scheme due to the age limit of 45 years since most of their regional executives were beyond that age.
He touted the SSNIT Management for taking the initiative to reach out to workers in the informal sector noting that the engagement had provided them a broader understanding of the scheme. They, therefore, entreated the SSNIT to make education of the scheme paramount to ensure the youth and upcoming generation will not be deprived of the benefits of the SSNIT scheme.