In its quest to reach out to the public with its services, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has launched the 2023 Mobile Service Week (SMS) in Sunyani in the Bono Region.
Organised on the theme “Choose your tomorrow; Sing up for SEED from SSNIT”, it is an annual nationwide programme to enable SSNIT branches to pitch at strategic locations and bring their services closer to their stakeholders and whip up the interest of workers, especially the self-employed, to join the scheme.
Currently, the SSNIT Pension Scheme has an active membership of over 1.9 million.
In November 2023, the Trust paid a total of GH¢376.73 million to 242,322 pensioners with the highest pension earner receiving GH¢169,725.89 per month while the lowest-earning pensioner had GH¢300.
Plan for retirement
Launching the programme, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, said the government had targeted to grow the pensions industry, “but we cannot grow it using only the public sector. We need the informal economy to meet the target”.
Mr Baffour Awuah, who is also the Minister of Pensions, therefore, urged the public, particularly the self-employed, such as traders, artisans and farmers, to join the scheme to secure their future.
He advised workers, both in the public and private sectors, to plan for their retirement, since banking their hopes on relatives and society for support in old age could be a recipe for disaster.
“Placing your retirement income security in the hands of anyone other than yourself could be dangerous. This could leave you in a state of despair and vulnerability at a time when you are old and vulnerable.”
Mr Baffour Awuah said SSNIT had rolled out the Self-employed Enrolment Drive (SEED) to encourage the self-employed, whether in the formal or informal sector, to enrol on the SSNIT Scheme.
“With the SEED initiative, you have your destiny in your own hands, because it allows the self-employed to insure their incomes in return for decent pensions on retirement,” he said.
Mr Baffour Awuah explained that signing onto the SEED initiative should not prevent one from signing onto other pension products available on the market to enhance their accrued benefits in order to have the best of life in old age.
He said since the launch of the SEED initiative about six months ago, the number of self-employed members on the SSNIT Scheme had grown exponentially from 14,000 to about 57,000.
Mr Baffour Awuah said more than 600,000 self-employed persons now had some form of social security cover under the three tiers of the National Social Security Scheme.
He said SSNIT was resilient and very reliable to do business with, adding that its assets under pensions were close to GH¢50 billion.
Mr Baffour Awuah said all workers in Ghana, except those explicitly exempted by law, must be enrolled on the SSNIT Scheme to ensure that a certain minimum level of social protection cover exists for workers.
For his part, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, said currently, about 60 per cent of the 3.2 million workers in the formal sector are covered under the SSNIT Scheme.
He added that of the 6.7 million self-employed workers in Ghana, about 3.1 million were between the ages of 15 and 45 years, making them eligible to enrol on the SSNIT Scheme.
“However, only 57,000, representing 1.8 per cent of them, are covered by SSNIT,” Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said.
He gave the assurance that SSNIT will continue to encourage those eligible but not yet enrolled on the Tier One pension scheme to do so to guarantee them a better future when they retire.
The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, commended the management of SSNIT for intensifying the drive for all workers to have social protection.
She urged the staff of SSNIT to use local languages when dealing with the locals in order to enhance their understanding of SSNIT issues.