Ghana hosts Liaison Office of International Social Security Association
Ghana is to host the Liaison Office of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) for the next three years (2023-2026).
Ghana succeeds Cote d’ Ivoire, the last country to host the office.
The choice is based on the commitment and leadership exhibited by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in social security administration in the country.
Located at the Trust Emporium, Airport City, Accra, the office will be responsible for the promotion of excellence in social security administration in the West Africa sub-region.
It will also be responsible for the development of dynamic social security systems and policies, and serve as a communication channel between the West Africa sub-region and the ISSA General Secretariat through the gathering of information on region-specific interests, needs and challenges, among other functions.
Registration of farmers
At a two-day seminar in Accra last Monday, the Minister of Employment, Labour Relations and Pensions, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, said about two million cocoa farmers across the country had been captured under the first tier social security scheme run by SSNIT.
This is expected to increase the number of contributors to the state-run pension scheme from 1.8 million to approximately, 3.8 million.
It also forms part of commitment by the government to ensure that many more eligible workers, particularly those within the informal sector of the economy secure their future by contributing to the scheme.
Speaking on the theme: “Digitalisation to leverage extension of social security coverage in West Africa”, Mr Awuah said that the pace at which the informal sector was being rolled onto pension schemes in Africa, as compared to the rest of the world was low and, therefore, said efforts must be made to intensify the processes by leveraging digitalisation.
“I call on social security institutions within West Africa to take advantage of the emergence of digital technology to bridge the wide coverage gap,” he added.
The minister said that the government was leveraging digital technology to introduce a new software for the pensions regulator, the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA).
The software would seek to automate the regulatory processes of the NPRA and ensure real-time monitoring to safeguard pension funds and investments.
It will also enable beneficiaries and service providers to interface with the NPRA remotely and at their convenience without having to travel long distances to access services.
“From 2021, the process of enrolling onto the SSNIT scheme has been simplified through the Ghana Card.
This has led to a marked improvement in social security administration with enrolment increasing steadily,” the minister said.
The Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, charged the participants to focus on technology that impacted positively on service delivery and access to social security.
“Let us not come at the discussions purely from an administrative point of view; let us focus on how we can use available technology to truly impact the lives of our people.
“We cannot fail in this endeavour because when you look at the map of social security coverage globally, you will find that Africa is one of the least covered areas even though our populations continue to grow at substantial rates,” he said.
The Secretary-General of ISSA, Marcelo Abi-Ramia Caetano, expressed appreciation to Cote d’Ivoire for hosting ISSA’s Liaison Office, and Ghana, for accepting to host the office for the next three years.
He explained that Ghana was chosen to host the 2023 seminar as well as the office because SSNIT had shown commitment and leadership in social security administration and protection of the citizens.