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Business News of Friday, 7 April 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Make SSNIT robust, prosperous - Finance Minister charges new board

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has urged the management and board of directors of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to act in the interest of contributors to the scheme and ensure the robustness and prosperity of the trust.

He said a look at the performance of the investment portfolio of SSNIT showed abysmal performance over the years, putting the fund in a tight liquidity position.

“We are, therefore, caught in a rather difficult situation. This is a huge task, Mr Chairman, and you will have to avert and turn this around. Overcoming these challenges are crucial, as it will ensure that we improve the trust that the people of Ghana have in the scheme and, therefore, the liquidity of the trust,” he said.

New board

Mr Ofori-Atta gave the charge when he inaugurated an 11-member board for SSNIT in Accra yesterday.

The board is chaired by a former Minister of Defence, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, with other members being Ms Abena Osei-Asare, Mr Alex Frimpong, Mr Daniel Acheampong, Mr Josuah Ansah and Prince William Ankrah.

Others are Mr Mahamadu Assibi Azonko, Mr David Ofori Acheampong, Mr Benjamin Odotei Asumang, Commissioner of Police (COP) Mrs Beatrice Vib-Sanziri, the Director General in charge of Police Welfare, and Dr John Ofori Tenkorang.

The Finance Minister also urged managers of the trust to leverage on technology to enhance its operations with respect to coverage, service delivery and inter-institutional collaboration.

He said the government, for its part, would ensure the prompt payment of all pension arrears.

Challenges

Highlighting the challenges, Mr Ofori-Atta said the major challenge confronting managers of pensions was the investment of pension funds due to the limited availability of investment options.

He said contributions to SSNIT had been dwindling, while its operational cost was increasing.

For instance, he said, contributions for 2016 stood at GH¢1.86 billion, representing a 12 per cent decrease on the 2015 figure.

He said the trust’s operational costs and general administrative cost had been found to be above those of its comparative peers and had been increasing.

Board Chairman

For his part, Dr Addo-Kufuor said SSNIT was the largest non-bank financial institution in the country, responsible for the welfare of the Ghanaian worker, pensioner, victim of occupational incapacity and their dependants in times of financial need.

He said if well managed, the trust would be a formidable institution that could assist the government in its attempt to resuscitate the economy, adding that SSNIT could also act as a magnet to attract massive foreign direct investment into the country.

He said it was the determination of the board to direct SSNIT along such a path, so that the increased prosperity engendered would justify the confidence and trust reposed in members by the President and the Finance Minister.

Chairman’s background

Dr Addo-Kufuor was educated at Achimota School, the University of Cambridge, England, and the University College Medical School in London and has worked in many hospitals, including the Middlesex Medical School Hospital, London and the Korle-Bu and the Komfo Anokye teaching hospitals.

In 1978, he established the Kufuor Clinic in Kumasi.

He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London; the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine, the West African College of Physicians and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).

He was for several years a lecturer at the KNUST?Medical School.

Dr Addo-Kufuor is a past President of the GMA and a Companion of the Order of the Volta. He was the Minister for Defence from 2001 to 2007 and Minister of the Interior from 2002 to 2003 and 2008.

He was also the Member of Parliament for Manhyia from 1997 to 2008.