Informal sector workers urged to join SSNIT pension scheme
Workers in the informal sector have been urged to join the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension scheme for the support of the scheme in their retirement.
The Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, said “the scheme is not limited to only government workers in the country but to all citizens who are desirous of contributing to the trust”.
The D-G who was addressing a stakeholders’ meeting in the Upper West Regional capital, Wa, debunked the erroneous perception that only salaried workers paid by the government were beneficiaries of the scheme.
He, however, emphasised that anyone who worked either in the formal or informal sector to cater for his or her daily needs could enjoy paid pension during old age provided they contributed to the scheme.
Dubbed; Self-employed Enrolment Drive (SEED), the initiative is aimed at encouraging self-employed persons to sign up onto the SSNIT scheme in order to access the benefits once they were qualified.
It was attended by participants drawn from the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, traders, fashion designers, dressmakers, caterers, farmers, artisans and tailors.
Dr Ofori-Tekorang said the initiative was in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) which had urged the trust to go round the country to sensitise people to why they must join the scheme since all workers were pensionable.
He explained that government workers had been benefitting from the scheme because they were organised and received regular salaries.
Time is now
The D-G said it was time to bring self-employed people, who he said were more than workers in the formal sector, onboard to also benefit from the scheme.
Mr Ofori-Tenkorang said out of a population of about 34 million people, it was estimated that two million workers, out of which only 708,731 people, representing 36 per cent in the formal sector, contributed to SSNIT.
At the moment, he said more than 1.2 million self-employed workers had been enrolled onto SSNIT.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said any self-employed person between 15 and 45 years could also enrol onto the scheme and decide the amount to contribute and how often to do so.
He said after 15 years of regular contribution such a person was entitled to a monthly pension until death, adding that it could help eradicate old age poverty in the country.
The D-G further said that apart from the monthly old age pension, a member was also entitled to invalidity pension, survival lump sum, emigration lump sum and a free NHIS membership.
The Wa Municipal Chairman of the TUC, Naayere Gervase, commended SSNIT for bringing the forum to the region.
He said over the years, self-employed workers were left at the mercy of private financial schemes, some of which were robbing them, and therefore, urged such workers to take advantage of SSNIT and register with the scheme.