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SSNIT extends pensions education to religious bodies

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu
 Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang - Director-General (DG) of SSNIT
Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang - Director-General (DG) of SSNIT

The Director-General (DG) of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, has urged all self-employed persons and workers in the informal sector to take full advantage of the scheme by insuring their total incomes earned with the Trust.

He said it had become necessary to extend coverage to the informal sector workers not only to increase the active membership and contributor base of the scheme but also to ensure that every worker in Ghana enjoyed social protection.

That, he said, would help reduce poverty and over-dependence on family relations and friends at old age.

Dr Ofori-Tenkorang gave the advice last Thursday at a stakeholder meeting with leaders of churches and Christian organisations to find ways to expand and deepen coverage of the basic national social security scheme of self-employed workers.

“Presently, over 14,000 self-employed workers contribute to the SSNIT Pension Scheme. This low coverage is attributed to the nature of the economy, where most people are engaged in their businesses and do not see the need to enrol onto the SSNIT scheme,” he said.

The meeting forms part of a series of stakeholder engagements to seek their buy-in and support to extend coverage of the SSNIT scheme to the self-employed and workers in the informal sector.

It brought together representatives of the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Church of Pentecost, Methodist Church and Action Chapel.

Benefits

Explaining some benefits of the SSNIT scheme and the value it provides to members, he stressed that once a member qualifies for pension, the person receives a monthly pension for life subject to an annual increase.

“The SSNIT Scheme offers unique benefits and provides value that no other pension product offers. The scheme gives superior value to invested members’ contributions. The Trust pays minimum pension by subsidising pensions for pensioners whose salaries were woefully low during active service.

“The scheme pays invalidity pension regardless of age and with minimal contribution, and also the SSNIT Scheme provides a life policy by paying survivors when a member passes on”, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said.

Laudable initiative

The former Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana, Most Rev. Dr Aboagye-Mensah, lauded the management of SSNIT for spearheading such an initiative to extend coverage of the SSNIT scheme to self-employed workers.

He explained that although some ministers retired and received a monthly pension from SSNIT which was augmented by in-house benefits paid by the church, most of its members, largely the self-employed, were not under any structured social security scheme.

He said the church had a responsibility to promote the holistic development of Christians in the country by ensuring that adequate preparation was made for a better life when people retired from active service.

“Most people believe the SSNIT Scheme is for formal sector workers only. In the past, SSNIT has not reached out enough but I am happy we have this engagement today”, he said.