When they attain 60 years, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributors are supposed to go on retirement, and until recently when the new Pension Act was promulgated, SSNIT was solely responsible for the payment of retirement benefits, both lump sum and pensioners’ monthly pay.
The new law has liberalised pension administration in the country and made it possible for others to come on board as fund managers and administrators.
It is heart-warming to see the huge transformation being witnessed in pension administration since the new pension law has been in operation.
Workers who have retired in recent years have described how relatively easy it has become to claim pension payments.
This is in sharp contrast to what pertained in the sector some years ago when people on retirement had to go through hell to get what rightly belonged to them paid to them.
There are chilling stories of people who died miserably in those days after chasing their pensions for years without getting anything, at times partly because it was learnt too late that their employers were not paying their SSNIT contributions.
There was little the pensioners could do in such circumstances, apart from resign themselves to their fate. But SSNIT has become more proactive, as a number of decisions and laws have been enforced to compel employers to settle the SSNIT contributions of their employees.
In recent times, some employers have been dragged to court to compel them to fulfil their SSNIT obligations to their employees.
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Over the years, SSNIT has continued to innovate to make the payment of pension contributions easy and convenient for employers in order to reduce the default rate, all in the interest of the employee.
One can only imagine how the state and living conditions of majority of the aged would be without SSNIT benefits.
Certainly, the Daily Graphic reasons that more innovative approaches should be adopted to make pension payments as smooth as possible for employers, especially when SSNIT manages the basic National Pension Scheme under the National Pensions Act (2008), Act 766 and also caters for the First Tier of the contributory Three-Tier Scheme.
It is in line with this that we are elated to learn the decision by SSNIT to add mobile money to its platforms to receive contributions from employers.
This is in addition to the existing methods of paying employee contributions that are still in operation, as announced to the Daily Graphic by the director general of the trust yesterday.
The Daily Graphic thinks that with this initiative, employers, whether big or small, have no excuse in defaulting in the payment of the SSNIT contributions of their employees.
As the trust rolls out this project next year, we urge it to bring on more innovations, such as paying benefits to pensioners through the mobile money platform.
It is disheartening and a sad spectacle to see at times very old and weak retirees, some accompanied and others unaccompanied, at banking halls withdrawing their pension benefits.
And we think that rolling out a similar initiative for the retirees will go a long way to make retirement more enjoyable for our senior citizens.
We applaud SSNIT for a good work done and urge it to continue to innovate to make pension life an opportunity to look forward to.