SSNIT responds to Auditor-General’s queries
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has said most of the findings of the Auditor-General’s report on the Trust for the financial year ended December 2020 are follow-ups on legacy issues spanning over two decades that were raised in the 2017 – 2019 Auditor General’s report.
Consequently, the Trust has resolved the majority of the issues and instituted measures and policies to prevent future occurrence, the Director-General, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, said when he joined the sector minister Ignitius Baffour Awuah and his team of directors to appear before the ongoing Public Accounts Committee (PAC) public hearings in Accra yesterday.
Audit findings regarding the operational results indicated that the Trust recorded a deficit of GH¢427 million in the 2019 financial year as compared to a deficit of GH¢442 million registered in 2018.
This represents a 6.8 per cent increase in the Trust’s financial performance over the period.
But in his response, Dr Tenkorang said the deficits recorded in revenue were a result of an increase in benefits payments as against a shortfall in expected contributions paid by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.
He added that there was a surplus of over GH¢1 billion in 2020 and a marginal deficit of over GH¢300 million, adding that management was expecting to record a surplus in 2022 accounts.
Regarding the audit findings on investments, the A-G noted from its review of investment files that the Trust liquidated three companies with a total investment of US$14,768,153.00. The
Trust had not received any returns from two of the companies for its investment for the past 15 years. The loss from the liquidations amounted to US$11,794,109.
On the action taken, Dr Tenkorang said the current management inherited these non-performing legacy investments and efforts had been made to ensure that SSNIT got the best deal through the liquidations and added that liquidations of the two companies in question, which the Trust was to receive returns from, were yet to be completed.
In the case of Ningo Salt Limited (NSL), he said the amount lost by SSNIT was reduced from the stated US$6.08 million to US$1.93 million. A loan of US$4.15 million, which was granted through Ecobank Ghana Limited, had fully been recovered with interest.
For Granite and Marbles Limited, SSNIT managed to retrieve its unpaid social security contributions and penalty of GH¢428,337.07. All the loans were converted to equity prior to the liquidation as of March 2020.
Regarding Canada Investment Fund for Africa (CIFA), he said that had been under liquidation since 2015 and noted that as per the Fund Manager’s 2019 report to shareholders, the liquidation process was yet to be concluded.
He gave an assurance that the Trust would recover the outstanding amounts when the liquidations were completed.
Consequently, he told the committee that these were matters that kept recurring in the books of the Trust forcing the chairman, James Klutse Avedzi, to direct the Trust to ensure that it did not reappear in its books in the future.
Ghana Road Fund loan default
On the road fund loan default, he said the Ministry of Finance called for a meeting between SSNIT and Ghana Road Fund on February 21, 2022.
He said at the said meeting, the ministry indicated its preparedness to see to the complete and speedy repayment of the entire facility, adding that the ministry and the Road Fund Secretariat were discussing the modalities to repay the facility.
Dr Tenkorang said SSNIT, in a letter dated March 3, 2022, proposed to the Finance Ministry to pay GH¢174,648,401 for the full settlement of the facility.
He gave an assurance that the Trust would continue to pursue the ministry about its indebtedness in order for the money to be released on time.