The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says the meagre salaries that many workers received are affecting their retirement benefits.
According to the Trust, instead of workers bastardizing the institution for their dissatisfaction, employees must demand good salaries from their employers to reflect better retirement packages.
Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director-General of SSNIT, disclosed this at the Central Regional meeting between SSNIT and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Cape Coast.
The engagement was on the theme: “Understanding the value proposition of SSNIT: the role of Organized Labour as partners in promoting the scheme among workers in Ghana.”
Representatives from various municipalities and districts, consisting of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Public Service Workers Union (PSWU), Tertiary Education Workers Union (TEWU) and others were at the meeting.
SSNIT is a statutory public institution charged under the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766 as amended by Act 883) with the administration of Ghana’s Basic National Social Security Scheme. Its mandate is to cater for the First Tier of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang explained that of the 18.5 per cent employers remit, 13.5 per cent go to SSNIT for the mandatory First-Tier Basic Social Security Scheme.
Of the 13.5 per cent paid to SSNIT, 2.5 per cent goes to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for the member’s health insurance and the residual five per cent goes to the mandatory Second Tier Occupational Scheme, which will be privately managed by Trustees approved and licensed by the Board of National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA).
Notwithstanding, he said, SSNIT was committed to delivering better value to pensioners paid under Act 766 which was better than the residual pension paid under PNDCL 247.
On total lifetime benefits, he said, Act 766 guaranteed pension up to age 75, indicating that SSNIT paid three more years of guaranteed pension than PNDCL 247.
He said SSNIT offered more under Act 766, and that with 15 years or 180 months of contributions, one qualified to receive 37.5 per cent of the average of their three years’ best salaries as pension and the lump sum paid by the second tier.
Previously, he said, workers needed 20 years or 240 months’ contributions to qualify for 50 per cent of the average of their three years’ best salaries as a whole pension.
Also, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang announced that his outfit had saved more than GH¢327 million by removing the names of pensioners, who were 75 years and above and failed to renew their pension certificates from the payroll.
That included survivors of deceased pensioners who took advantage to withdraw pension pay even when the SSNIT beneficiaries had died.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang further disclosed that SSNIT had attained about GH¢10.54 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM) in the sectors of real estate, finance, services, government, manufacturing, ICT and others.
However, he observed that since every business investment had few setbacks, SSNIT recorded 1.8 per cent non-performing AUM, noting that “management’s doing its best to rebalance investment portfolios” to bridge the gap.
Presently, he noted, that 228,366 workers who were registered with SSNIT had applied for pension pay and 1.7 million workers were active SSNIT contributors.
On members’ life expectancy, he indicated that regardless of the widely held notion of decreasing life expectancy among Ghanaians, SSNIT, said its statistics indicated a reverse of the situation.
It observed a steady rise in life expectancy of contributors aged 72 which was eight per cent in 2002, 18 per cent in 2010 and 25 per cent in 2020.
Likewise, the percentage of contributors aged 80, had risen from one per cent in 2002 to two per cent in 2010 and seven per cent in 2020.
The accomplishment, he attributed to among others, better health care and hygiene, healthier lifestyles, sufficient food and improved medical care.
Additionally, he revealed that management intended to launch a SSNIT application, mobile money payment platforms and an interactive website to enhance the smooth running of the scheme without visiting the office.
Mr Joshua Ansah, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), commended SSNIT for the engagement towards enhancing the understanding of contributors.
He described the engagement as fruitful and pleaded with SSNIT to extend its services to the doorstep of workers.
The forum equipped members on the new SSNIT Pension Act and measures put in place by management to help sustain the scheme.
During an open forum, participants asked questions, particularly on the lost income of members due to old age, invalidity or death of a member, where nominated dependent(s) receive lump sum payment.