The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) last year paid 3.3 billion Ghana Cedis as benefits to more than 250,000 of its members and their survivors.
This was made up of more than GH¢2.9 billion to some 227,000 old age pensioners, GH¢16.3 million to some 1400 invalid pensioners, GH¢10 million to 192 emigrants and GH¢273.7 million to some 24,000 survivors and GH¢51.8 million in lump sums and other payments.
Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, Director-General of SSNIT, announced this in Accra, at a meeting with stakeholders to sensitise them on the merger of SSNIT numbers with the National Identification Authority (NIA) numbers of Members of the Scheme.
The merger is expected to improve the ease of doing business with the Trust by enabling a convenient means to allow members to use one card, that is the Ghana Card, for all transactions.
It is also in compliance with Regulation 7 (1) of the National Identity Register Regulations, 2012, L.I. 2111 and a directive from the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA).
The regulation, among other things, requires the use of the Ghana Card as a means of identification for “transactions pertaining to individuals in respect of pensions”.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang expressed the commitment of Trust to serve the needs of its members, saying, “We may not be a perfect institution, but our commitment to you is that we will always pay the benefits due you without fail. And if we are able to discharge this obligation within an atmosphere of world class service delivery, it will be the icing on the cake.”
The Trust is entrusted with the provision of social protection for the working population for various contingencies including old age, invalidity and death” (Act 766, section 34(d)).
On the merger of the SSNIT card with the NIA card, the Director-General said the Trust would create avenues for people to have it done on their phones by dialling a short code or USSD and also the SSNIT website.
However, those who could not use any of those methods could walk in to any SSNIT office to be assisted to merge their numbers.
“The plan is that from 2022, the Ghana Card will be the only accepted means of identification required for Members to transact business with SSNIT and we believe that with your support and partnership, we can definitely achieve this goal,” Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said.
“After the merger is done, I am optimistic it will bring down further the average 10 working days it takes for SSNIT to process and pay benefits to retirees.”
From July 2021, new applicants of the Scheme, he said, would be required to have Ghana Card to join it.
The Trust, the Director-General said, had outlined a number of stakeholder engagements in the course of the year to ensure continuous dialogue with stakeholders and the strengthening of their partnerships.
The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, commended the Management of SSNIT for bringing together players in the pension industry to engage on the merger to ensure a smooth transition.
He noted that such a tripartite approach was the way institutions should go in promoting industrial harmony.
“When organisations engage stakeholders before the introduction of new programmes or initiatives, it reduces anxiety and suspicion from them,” he stated. “This is, particularly, important in circumstances where the relationship between employers, labour and SSNIT has not always been exactly cordial.”
The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Dr Anthony Yaw Baah commended Dr Ofori-Tenkorang for the level of openness and inclusiveness with which he was managing the Scheme.
He assured SSNIT Management of his side’s readiness to partner SSNIT to enrol members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and other informal sector worker groups onto the SSNIT Pension Scheme.
The meeting was attended by Chairperson of Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, Mr Philip Basoah, Chief Executive Officer of National Pensions Regulatory Authority, Mr. Hayford Atta Krufi, Executive Secretary, among others.