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Opinions of Sunday, 26 April 2020

Columnist: Nii Ayi Anteh

SSNIT's reaction to Former President Mahama is insensitive and unfortunate

Former Pres. John Mahama suggested pensioners be given bail-outs to cushion them during the pandemic Former Pres. John Mahama suggested pensioners be given bail-outs to cushion them during the pandemic

In reaction to President John Dramani Mahama’s wonderful suggestion that the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) should devise a way to give bail-outs to its contributors to cushion them against the pangs of the coronavirus, one of the most baseless arguments I have read so far, sadly has come from SSNIT itself.

In a Public Notice, SSNIT noted “…The benefits His Excellency is suggesting that we pay do not exist in law. To do so will constitute an illegality and a contravention of the provisions of the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766.” And that is very unfortunate.

Is ACT 766 not amendable?

If politicians want something for themselves, they find ways to rush to Parliament to amend this same Law, why can’t the same be done so that ordinary citizens like me and you benefit? Why can’t the law be amended so that the Ghanaian worker can also find some relief?

Just yesterday, the US House of Senate overwhelmingly passed the $484 billion bill to support American businesses and hospitals in the face of the pandemic. In March, the US Legislators passed a legislation that ensured that a whopping $2 trillion stimulus package is paid to American citizens and families in support against the harsh conditions arising from the COVID-19 breakout. Is the Ghanaian politician telling us it is not possible?

When they desired, didn’t this same Parliament sat to approve Akufo-Addo’s Imposition of Restriction Act just last month? Why can’t they sit and approve a relief for the ordinary Ghanaian worker?

In any case, does SSNIT, an organization that spends $72 million on software even has the moral right to even speak against this call? Jeeee!

What I expected SSNIT, led by Dr. Addo Kufour to say is that they are ready to work out a plan for the Ghanaian contributor if Government and Parliament can come out with the needed Legislation. Such a statement will show enormous solidarity for the hardworking Ghanaian worker and for once portray SSNIT as an organization that cares for its primary stakeholders – contributors.

It is sad to note that some Ghanaians, because of their political affiliations are countering this suggestion from the former President. These are ordinary men and women of Ghana who stand to be supported if our Government, Parliament, and SSNIT act right but because of politics, they have chosen the side of the insensitive few. God help us all.