SSNIT clears 6452 'ghosts' from payroll

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang (left), the Director-General of the SSNIT,
Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang (left), the Director-General of the SSNIT,

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has deleted names of 6,452 ‘ghost’ pensioners from its payroll, saving the entity more than GH¢20 million from February to September, 2018.

“The pension payroll has been trimmed by about GH¢2.7 million per month, and this benefit accrues monthly to the Trust,” the Director-General of the SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, disclosed at a media encounter in Accra last Thursday.

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He said the amount that had been saved so far had been put in a special account at the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

Benefit payment

Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said the SSNIT paid GH¢2.2 billion to 189,549 pensioners and other beneficiaries in 2017 as compared to GH¢1.7 billion payment to 174,164 pensioners and other beneficiaries in 2016, representing an increase of 29.41 per cent.


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He said pension payments had been increased by 10 per cent in 2018, adding that the minimum pension was above the statutory monthly minimum wage for workers.

New entrants

Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said 209,551 new members had been enrolled onto the scheme this year, representing an increase of 14 per cent over the previous year. He said whereas the SSNIT had about 66,000 establishments on its payroll, the Registrar General’s Department had more than 250,000 registered establishments, meaning there was more room for improvement in the enrolment of new members onto the scheme.

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To that end, he said “the Trust has, therefore, initiated collaborations with the Registrar General’s Department and the Ghana Revenue Authority to connect to their databases to get on board all active registered establishments.”

Dr Ofori-Tenkorang also disclosed that the Trust was collaborating with the National Identification Authority (NIA) to leverage their platform in order to reduce the cost of producing new membership cards.

He further announced that contributions, which had decreased by 12.6 per cent in 2015 to 2016, had increased by 26 per cent in 2017.

Investments

On investments, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said the Trust’s investment portfolio improved tremendously in 2017 compared to previous years.

For instance, he explained that the total investment assets of the Trust as of September 2018 was GH¢9.38 billion, representing a growth of 2.4 per cent in asset value, compared to the September 2017 value of GH¢9.16 billion, and an increase in 1.4 per cent compared to the December 2017 value of GH¢9.25 billion.

According to Dr Ofori-Tenkorang, there would be no investment in the real estate in the short and medium term until the SSNIT’s investment portfolio had been rebalanced.

Initiatives

He said the SSNIT was liaising with the informal sector to address the peculiar needs of low-income earners.

He said the future looked bright for the SSNIT in that the entity had for the first time in many years received dividends of GH¢1 million and GH¢500,000 from the Labadi Hotel and Trust Hospitals respectively.

Dr Ofori-Tenkorang assured the public that management had resolved and was working assiduously to ensure that the scheme was sustainable.

Interactions

Answering questions from journalists, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang clarified that the SSNIT was not issuing new cards because thousands of cards, costing $7 each, had been left uncollected.

He said the Trust would issue SSNIT numbers, while the NIA would issue the cards to save cost.

On the Trust’s exposure to banks that had been collapsed, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said the exposure was currently standing at zero because the Trust was able to offload securities put forward by the collapsed entities.

Answering questions on government’s indebtedness to SSNIT workers’ contributions to the scheme, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said the Trust was collaborating with the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to reconcile the figures.

He said the Trust would be in a better position to give the actual figures in arrears after the reconciliation.

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