You are here: HomeNews2022 03 30Article 1502759

General News of Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Source: GNA

Less than one per cent of self-employed contribute to SSNIT Pension Scheme

SSNIT is the Social Security and National Insurance Trust SSNIT is the Social Security and National Insurance Trust

Less than one percent of the Ghanaian workforce who are self-employed are contributing to the Social Security and National Investment Trust (SSNIT) Pension Scheme.

This, according to Mr Joseph Poku, Chief Actuary, SSNIT, was very worrying and a threat to the mandate of the Scheme to secure the life of every working Ghanaian, to reduce poverty and dependency.

Out of the 11.5 million active Ghanaian workers in various sectors of the economy, only 1.7 million workers contributed to the SSNIT Pension Scheme with self-employed being only about 14,000.

While the formal sector, including public and private sectors had contributed 34.7 per cent and 64.5 per cent respectively, the informal sector (self-employed) contributed only 0.8 per cent.

Mr Poku made these known in the Upper East Regional capital, Bolgatanga, at a regional stakeholder engagement to educate Ghanaian workers, and expand and deepen coverage to the self-employed and informal sector workers to enroll and contribute to the Scheme.

The engagement brought together public workers groups including trade unions, teacher unions, health worker unions, Civil Society Organisations, drivers, tricycle operators, dress makers, mechanics, weavers, and mobile money vendors, among others.

The Chief Actuary, who dispelled the misconception that SSNIT was meant for only workers in the public sector, noted that low coverage of the informal sector deprived the workers of the benefit the Scheme offered especially at old age and permanent illness.

This, he said, further increased vulnerability of workers and government’s expenditure on social interventions programmes as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) among others.

“We simply cannot have a social protection system that protects only 1.7 million or so workers and neglects close to 10 million workers in the informal sector. We must collectively endeavour to encourage the self-employed and workers in the informal sector to join the Scheme. It is one of the surest ways to reduce and prevent poverty among the aged,” he added.

Mr Poku added enrolling and contributing to SSNIT Pension Scheme was not only a full life insurance package for Ghanaian workers, but the move would help reduce poverty and over-dependence on family relations and friends during old age or in the event of permanent invalidity.

He noted that apart from the superior value that the SSNIT pension Scheme gave to invested member’s contribution, SSNIT was very generous, “it assumes longevity risks and pays beneficiaries till death”.

“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.

“The Trust pays you till you pass on and the Scheme provides a life policy by paying survivors when a member passes on.

“For Members who can no longer work due to permanent disease or illness, the Scheme also pays them invalidity pension regardless of age and with only 12 months of contributions within the past three years prior to the person becoming invalid,” he added.

He therefore encouraged the self-employed and the informal sector workers to take full advantage of the Scheme by insuring their total incomes earned with SSNIT.