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Regional News of Friday, 11 February 2005

Source: GhanaWeb Correspondent

Informal sector to benefit from SSNIT pension

Koforidua, Feb 10, GNA- Mr William Siaw, the Head of the Informal Sector of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), says the informal sector would soon benefit from pension schemes that would help solve problems they go through at old age. He said the informal sector constituted about 90 per cent of the work force in Ghana for which plans were far advanced to help people in the sector to also enjoy pension as their colleagues in the formal sector.

Mr Siaw was speaking at a meeting to educate artisans, TUC members and informal sector operators at Koforidua on Thursday.
He said the schemes by SNNIT was borne out of the noted sense of desperation that prompt some people in the informal sector who had no pension to sell their properties in a frantic bid to cater for themselves in old age. Mar Siaw said the new Security Scheme would take effect from March on a pilot bases and that the contribution would be divided into two parts with one part acting as security which could be collected easily while the other half acts as security against old age.

The scheme, which would provide a passbook to contributors to enable them check on their contributions regularly, would operate like the 'susu' scheme with people contributing daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the contributor's capability, he explained. He said there was the option for contributors to withdraw part of the savings when one was in need, but was quick to say that though the new scheme would look like banking, "it isn't". "We are not just going to give you loans, but securing your future", he added.

Mr Siaw said the nature of the jobs being undertaken by people in the informal sector would make them require money often, thus the flexible nature of the new scheme and encouraged people in the formal sector who are interested to also join, even though they may be contributing already. Dr Sapara Grant, the Deputy Head of Informal Sector, SSNIT, called on people in the informal sector to embrace the new scheme in order to safeguard themselves against old age. He called on people who might join the scheme to increase their contributions to entitle them to bigger pensions in the future.

Twenty people registered for the scheme at the meeting to set the campaign on.

GNA