SSNIT to extend SEED initiative to rural communities

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), as part of its long-term sustainability plan, is pursuing a vigorous campaign to get more people in the informal sector, particularly in the rural areas to join the scheme under its innovative Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED) initiative.

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The SEED, aimed at enrolling more informal sector workers to rural areas, went up from 14,000 signing on in March last year, to 80,000 in March this year. The Chief Actuary of SSNIT, Joseph Poku, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, said the initiative was to ensure that everyone, irrespective of what they do for a living, would be encouraged to secure a retirement support.

He was explaining some of the initiatives SSNIT was rolling out as part of the long-term sustainability of the scheme.

Success

Mr Poku stated that since the launch of the SEED and the education campaign, many self-employed persons have been enrolled on the programme, explaining that “so far, the SEED campaign has been successful,” saying it was a  a good foundation the company wants to build upon.

“Initially, most people in the informal sector thought social security was for persons working in the formal sector. So, getting into the informal sector was quite a challenge.

“However, after the launch and vigorous education, many people have come to understand and are now buying into that signing. A good foundation we want to build on and expand to the rural areas.

“We would continue with our education campaign and trust that by the end of the year, a lot more would buy into this new market and understand the product.  Social security is not just for formal workers but for everyone. This year, we hope to do more business at the rural community level,”,” the Chief Actuary stated.

Savings

Mr Poku also said as of last March, SSNIT had saved GH¢519 million that otherwise would have gone to ‘ghost’ pensioners. He explained the ghost persioners to be people who have failed to avail themselves to the scheme to be biometrically authenticated.

He said, however, that for anyone not to lose what was rightfully theirs, anytime any of those affected “persons” showed up, they would be paid. “For some time now, SSNIT as part of its due diligence, have asked beneficiaries to renew their registration each year on their birthday, payment is suspended for those who fail to do so, however, once they show up in person, the data is updated.

“As of March this year, GH¢519 million has been retained from that initiative,” he stated. 

Measures

Mr Poku said the trust had adopted the annual reconciliation exercise with the Controller and Accountant General to determine the government’s indebtedness to the scheme, and an ongoing engagement with the government to ensure the settlement of contributions in arrears.

Others, he said, were the introduction of mass prosecutions as a strategy to reduce contributions in arrears, and the introduction of flexible repayment terms for indebted employers (negotiated agreements), an initiative which he said had led to a reduction of contributions in arrears.

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