The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, has called on students in tertiary institutions to start planning for their retirements from school to secure their future
Addressing about 1,000 students at the Navrongo Campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) at the SSNIT Info Shop programme last Saturday, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang pointed out that everyone was exposed to invalidity and death and so “you students must start securing your future early because the hard truth is that you would get old one day and retire.”
The programme, which was organised by SSNIT in collaboration with the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), was to enlighten the students about the importance of social security, as well as assisting them to prepare, secure and take control of their lives before and beyond age 60 or in the event of permanent invalidity.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang further noted that instead of seeing old age as a distant reality, students should take social security seriously because everyone was exposed to the contingencies of old age, invalidity and death.
He told the students that “before you know they will be calling you aunty, mama, uncle, daddy, chief or boss, from then on it will be a matter of years before your active work years are over and retirement beckons.
This is the time, when reality hits you because your major source of income is gone or dwindled to insignificant numbers, your children are also gone and your health also begins to fail you.
At this point, it is almost as if all forces in the universe are against you".
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang also stated that SSNIT had made significant contributions to the development of tertiary education in Ghana because the Trust recognises students not only as future leaders but also as potential workforce key to the sustainability of the Pension Scheme.
But perhaps, he noted, “our greatest contribution to the sector is the Students Loan Scheme now administered by the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF), which provides financial support to thousands of students so they can complete their education.”
The director general disclosed that currently, the Trust was paying more than 1,000 invalid pensioners and stressed that one could imagine if they had not started contributing early to the scheme what would have happened to them now.
He further explained that currently, the highest paid pensioner received a monthly pension of about GH¢55,000 with the lowest getting about GH¢300.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang indicated that the first phase of the event held last year was very encouraging as over 6,000 students were educated on the need for them to register with the Trust to secure their future.
The beneficiary students, he said, were coming from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana, Legon, University of Cape Coast, Methodist University in Accra and the Wa Campus of the UDS.
The Principal of UDS Navrongo Campus, Professor Albert Luguterah, thanked the management of SSNIT for bringing the campaign to the doorstep of the students but entreated the organisation to further support the students by instituting a scholarship scheme for brilliant, needy students, as well as help provide some equipment and facilities to improve on academic work of the university.
The President of USAG, Mr Kingsley Sarpong Akowuah, observed that the collaboration with SSNIT was among a number of activities the association had been organising for students, not only at the universities but also in other tertiary institutions.
The acting General Manager, in charge of Benefits at SSNIT in Accra, Mr Robert Owusu-Sekyere, and Mr Charles Akwei Garshong of the Corporate Affairs Department of SSNIT in Accra, both took the students through the benefits under the social security scheme, laws and investments under the scheme.
Some of the students were given some souvenirs while they were also encouraged to register under the Social Security Scheme on campus.