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Regional News of Thursday, 10 November 2005

Source: GNA

70,000 pensioners paid through ECOBANK

Tamale, Nov. 10, GNA - Mr Kwesi Osei, Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust Fund (SSNIT) on Thursday said about 70,000 pensioners in the country receive their pension through ECOBANK.

He said this was part of measures taken by SSNIT to facilitate the early payment of pension to pensioners who had complained about the delay and frustration in collecting their pensions. Mr Osei announced this when addressing the Fifth Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the SSNIT Local Union of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) at Tamale.

He said SNNIT would soon embark on a membership drive to include workers in the informal sector to join the Trust and explained that workers in the formal sector could also contribute in the scheme for the informal sector to enhance their financial security. Mr Osei stressed the importance of data collection and retrieval in the operations of SSNIT and urged the staff to take in-service training organised for them seriously. More

Mr Oteng Asamoah, National Secretary of SSNIT Local Union, appealed to the management to be more pro-active, caring and recognise hard work and stop paying lip service to workers agitation for better conditions of service.

He called on management to pay more attention to field staff of the Trust who operate within the informal sector, stop red-tapeism and facilitate the implementation of their conditions of service to enhance customer service delivery. Mr Gilbert Awinongya, Deputy General Secretary (Operations) of the ICU, urged the workers to embark on massive educational campaign to encourage other workers in institutions and establishments to ensure their employers pay their contributions regularly. He said this would enable the Trust mobilize more funds for investments and enhance their performance. "It is only improved returns on investment portfolios that can sustain the pension scheme," He added.

Mr Awinongya urged the Union to advise management on investment policies and interests to enable them invest in viable ventures. Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister in a speech read by his deputy Mr Mohammed Amin Adam asked SSNIT to strive to change the perception of the public on investments by the Trust and their benefits to contributors.

Alhaji Boniface said the only way to bridge the gap between the highest and lowest paid beneficiary was to create more wealth that could be distributed evenly to enhance impact on pensions.