Ghana’s informal sector pension scheme takes off
More than 40,000 people have subscribed to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Informal Sector Fund, a subsidiary of SSNIT that operates on a blend of the usual pension scheme and “Susu” contributions.
The Fund, which is yet to be launched formally, began on a pilot basis in 2005.
It is estimated that 600,000 people would subscribe to the fund by 2013, based on the enthusiasm members of the public are showing in the scheme.
Mr Joseph Gordon-Mensah, Public Relations Officer of the SSNIT Informal Sector, told the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday that even those in the informal sector who are contributors to the SSNIT pension scheme are also registering with the informal scheme.
The head of the Informal Sector Fund, Mr Francis Sapara-Grant, who was responsible for the preparation of the profile, said the 50 per cent reserved as pension could be used as a collateral for the contributor to access loans from the fund.
A corporate profile of SSNIT on the Informal Sector Fund indicates that contributors are given a pass book in which 50 per cent of their contributions is held as pension and the other 50 per cent is used as deposit from which the contributor can make a withdrawal.
“A member can use his/her contributions as partial collateral to secure credit from other regular financial institutions, and a member can withdraw from the retirement account only at old-age, invalidity or death.”
According to the profile, the SSNIT Informal Sector Pension Scheme is a voluntary contributory pension scheme designed principally for workers in the informal sector, which provides members with benefits that are based exclusively on their contributions.
It states that the scheme offers old-age pension/lump sum, disability benefit which is optional, and survivors’ lump sum benefit just like the regular SSNIT pension scheme, adding that Ghanaians resident abroad can also contribute to the scheme.
The fund currently has four branches and 10 contact offices in five regions. In Greater Accra there are the Makola branch and six other contact offices, namely Accra Industrial Area, Achimota, Madina, Tema Harbour, Tema East and Kokomlemle.
In Ashanti, there are the Adum branch and two other contact offices at Asafo and Suame; and for Western Region, Takoradi branch and Tarkwa contact office. In the Central Region, there is the Cape Coast contact, and in the Eastern Region the Koforidua branch, with one soon to be opened in Hohoe in the Volta Region.