The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) spends more than GH¢1 million per month on invalidity pensions.
Some contributors in this category of pensioners who have been on the pension payroll for more than 20 years are below the age of 60.
The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, who made this known in Koforidua at the weekend explained that the Trust had many contributors in the category of pensioners who could not work because they suffered from a permanent disability or sickness.
He was speaking at the sixth in the series of joint educational fora between the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) and SSNIT, to discuss the importance of the pension scheme.
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The forum discussed pension-related issues and how contributors could compute their benefits.
Similar fora had been held in Bolgatanga, Tamale, Wa, Sunyani and Kumasi.
The regional meetings are also in compliance with the directive by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to the SSNIT, to intensify its regulatory education activities and to ensure that members of the scheme understood how their benefits were calculated.
Addressing the forum, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said as of March 2019, the scheme had approximately 1.5 million contributors, with 67,327 registered establishments within the same period.
Pensioners on the payroll of the Trust, as of April 2019, were 205,094, with the highest-paid pensioner earning GH¢55,899.57 and the lowest paid pensioner earning GH¢300 a month.
“Currently, the SSNIT minimum monthly pension is GH¢300 and this is more than the monthly equivalent of the national daily minimum wage of GH¢287.55,” he said.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang encouraged members to continue to put their money in the scheme because, he said, SSNIT was the best.
“The payment of invalidity pension is an example of the generous nature of our scheme,” he added.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said as part of efforts to improve the prompt payment of contributions, employers could now submit the list of workers and their corresponding salaries online and make payment at designated banks.
He said the Trust, through its compliance officers, carried out inspection of employers’ records to ascertain the accuracy of reports submitted on behalf of workers.
Where employers were found culpable, such defaulting employers were engaged to negotiate flexible terms of payment, he said.
The General Manager of Benefits, Mr Robert Owusu Sekyere, who took participants through how to estimate their pensions, said three factors were considered in the computation of benefits.
Those, he said, were the age at which one retired, the average of the best three years’ basic salaries which one contributed and the number of months of contributions.
He said the formula for calculating pensions was stipulated in the law and, as such, no SSNIT official could vary that.
The Secretary General of the TUC, Dr Yaw Baah, said pensions had been a major concern for the country’s workers and expressed the hope that the interaction between SSNIT and organised labour would clear any doubts about the pension scheme.
He told the participants that it was imperative for every worker in Ghana to take an active interest in the social security and retirement planning.
He expressed his gratitude to SSNIT for their willingness and commitment in taking the regional tour to engage organised labour on pensions.
A participant, the Eastern Regional Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr Daniel Afadu, said the exercise had helped clear doubts on the activities and operations of the SSNIT.
He said the exercise had enlightened them to understand that the SSNIT pensions were earned based on one’s salary.
He appealed to SSNIT to carry out more education to sensitise people and called on the government to consider and implement a stronger policy for people in the informal sector so that when they were no more active, they could have something to rely on.