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General News of Wednesday, 27 November 2019


We’re not cheating you – SSNIT to pensioners

The management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has said that it will continue to compute and pay the benefits due pensioners in accordance with the law.

SSNIT, in a statement on Wednesday, 27 November 2019 in response to a press conference addressed by The Forum for Public Sector Registered Pension Schemes (The FORUM) who accused the state pension management body of cheating its beneficiaries, said it will “accurately and promptly” pay all benefits due members effective 1 January 2020.

The FORUM recently accused SSNIT of shortchanging its members in the computation of Past Credits.

The Past Credit is the contribution of workers to SSNIT before the coming into force of Act 766, which brought about the three-tier pension scheme.

At a press conference in Accra, The FORUM accused SSNIT of contravening a directive from the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) which said Past Credits as determined must earn interest at 91-day Government of Ghana Treasury Bill Rate prevailing at the time of the contribution received but that was not being done.

The Chairman of The FORUM, Mr Isaac Bampoe Addo, said at the press conference that: “Regrettably, SSNIT has failed to comply with the NPRA directives on the Past Credits. What SSNIT stated in its press statements are false and this is a deliberate attempt to cheat the worker.”

SSNIT, he noted, had received the NPRA directives in September 2019 and were “aware that their current method of computation is way below the instructions given by the Regulator, NPRA.”

Mr Bampoe Addo, thus, described as “misleading”, a statement issued by SSNIT to the effect that it had recomputed the Past Credits of members using 100% Treasury Bill Rate compounded quarterly as captured in a previous agreement and that the result of that computation is shown on the Statement of Accounts of its members.

“SSNIT is aware that it used rates of 50% Treasury Bill Rate (and below) to calculate the Past Credits which was rejected by The Forum,” Mr Bampoe Addo said, adding: “The Forum observes that currently, most of the Public Sector Occupational Pension Schemes (Tier-2) are performing well and earning above the Treasury Bill Rate. It must also be noted that long term bonds issued by the government are by far higher than the Treasury Bill Rate”.

“In fact”, The Forum noted, “All Tier-2 funds including Past Credits should be in the custody of custodians of various trusts. By agreeing to allow the Past Credits to remain with SSNIT on the grounds that immediate transfer of the funds will jeopardise the operations of SSNIT, we are making a lot of sacrifices and that should be recognised.”

The FORUM, therefore, served notice thus: “If by 1 January 2020, adequate measures are not put in place to ensure smooth implementation of Tier 2 of the three-tier Pension Scheme, all the members of the Forum would stay at home in solidarity with our members who would be retiring and would have to receive paltry Past Credits due to wrong computation by SSNIT as a result of non-compliance of the NPRA directives on Past Credits”.

SNNIT, however, said “contrary to the claim by the Chairman of The FORUM, its press release on 12 September 2019 “is not misleading”.

“The Trust maintains that it has complied with the Agreement on the computation of Past Credits as set out in the ‘Communique on the Report of the Ministerial Committee on outstanding issues relating to Tier-two Pension Funds for Public Sector Workers’ (MOU) reached by all parties comprising the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Ministry of Finance, NPRA, SSNIT and The FORUM.

“The Trust is fully committed to implementing Act 766 and the Agreement reached by all parties (including the FORUM) and WILL accurately and promptly pay all benefits due Members effective 1 January 2020. In doing so, the Trust will always be guided by the long-term sustainability of the Scheme.

“The SSNIT Scheme is a social protection scheme and will at all times protect the welfare of its Members and not cheat them”, the statement said, adding: “The management of the Trust assures the general public, especially members of the Scheme and Pensioners that it will continue to compute and pay benefits in accordance with the law.

SSNIT noted that: “100% of the prevailing 91-day Treasury Bill rate is being used to compute interest on the Past Credits every quarter in consonance with the Agreement by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Ministry of Finance, NPRA, SSNIT and the FORUM and same has been made available to Members on their Statements of Account”.

“The computation of Past Credits is based on the agreed formula and such Past Credits will be paid to Members who retire from 1 January 2020.

“Contrary to the assertion by the FORUM, SSNIT is NOT using contributors’ money to ‘obstruct’ the implementation of Tier 2. Currently, the Tier 2 scheme is being implemented and SSNIT is not against the implementation of the three-tier pension scheme. Management of the Trust remains focused on ensuring that it fulfills fully, its obligations under the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766.”